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Fall 1997 


Historical Magazine 

Founded 1844 
Dennis A. Fiori, Director 

The Maryland Historical Magazine 

Robert I. Cottom, Editor 

Patricia Dockman Anderson, Associate Editor 

Donna B. Shear, Managing Editor 

Jeff Goldman, Photographer 

Robin Donaldson Coblentz, Christopher T.George, Jane Gushing Lange, Mary Markey, and 
Robert W. Schoeberlein, Editorial Associates 

Regional Editors 

John B. Wiseman, Frostburg State University 

Jane G. Sween, Montgomery Gounty Historical Society 

Pegram Johnson III, Accoceek, Maryland 

Acting as an editorial board, the Publications Committee of the Marylattd Historical Society 
oversees and supports the magazine staff. Members of the committee are: 

John W. Mitchell, Upper Marlboro; Trustee/Ghair 

Jean H. Baker, Goucher College 

James H. Bready, Baltimore Sun 

Robert J. Brugger, The Johns Hopkins University Press 

Lois Green Garr, St. Mary's City Commission 

Toby L. Ditz, The Johns Hopkins University 

Dennis A. Fiori, Maryland Historical Society, ex-officio 

David G. Fogle, University of Maryland 

Jack G. Goellner, Baltimore 

Averil Kadis, Enoch Pratt Free Library 

Roland C. McConnell, Morgan State University 

Norvell E. Miller III, Baltimore 

Richard Striner, Washington College 

John G. Van Osdell, Towson State University 

Alan R. Walden, WBAL, Baltimore 

Brian Weese, Bibelot, Inc., PikesvUle 

Members Emeritus 

John Higham, The Johns Hopkins University 
Samuel Hopkins, Baltimore 
Charles McC. Mathias, Chevy Chase 

The views and conclusions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors. 
The editors are responsible for the decision to make them public. 

ISSN 0025-4258 

© 1997 by the Maryland Historical Society. Published as a benefit of membership in the Maryland 
Historical Society in March, June, September, and December. Articles appearing in this journal are 
abstracted and indexed in Historical Abstracts and/or America: History and Life. Periodicals postage paid at 
Baltimore, Maryland and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: please send address changes to the 
Maryland Historical Society, 201 West Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Composed by 
Publishing Concepts, Baltimore, Maryland, and printed in the USA by The Sheridan Press, Hanover, 
Pennsylvania 17331. Individual subscriptions are $30.00. (Membership in the Society with full benefits is 
$40.00.) Institutional subscriptions are $24.00 per year, prepaid. 


VOLUME 92, 3 (FALL 1997) 


In Search of Thomas Stone, Essential Revolutionary 


Blacks, Whites, and Guns: Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


PortfoKo: Baltimore's Sesquicentennial Celebration 


One Man's Battlefield: George Alfred Townsend and the War Correspondents 




Book Reviews 


Phillips, Freedom's Port: The African American Community of Baltimore, 1790-1860, 
by Gene A. Smith 

Johnson, The Chief Justiceship of John Marshall, 1801-1835, by Mark T. Whitman 
Altoii, Amongst My Best Men: African-Americans and the War of 1812, 

by Christopher T. George 
Papenfuse, The BvHs efl^ts^, Sti^^f Goe^oe Harper and the Moral Dilemma of Slavery, 

by Angela M. Leonard 
Ackinclose, Sabres and Pistols: TheCivil War Career of Colonel Harry Gilmor, C.S.A., 

byWalt AlbFO 

Kahn, Uncommon Threads: Threads that Wove the Fabric of Baltimore Jewish Life, by 
Sheldon Caplis 

Atkins, Parties, P&lMcs, andtheSeitimudCdf^tin Tennessee, 1832-1861, by Jeffrey W. 

Books in Brief 399 

Notices 401 

Maryland Picture Puzzle 402 

Cover: The Old Defenders, 1880 

Maryland's veterans of the War of 1812 posed for this photograph in Druid Hill Park during 
Baltimore's sesquicentennial celebration. The city's tribute to the Old Defenders preceded by nearly 
four decades the creation of Veterans' Day as an official national holiday. The Maryland Historical 
Magazine is proud to recognize all of the OM Line Stuffs miiitBry veterans. 



Editor's Notebook 

Reviews and News 

As most readers of this magazine are aware, the Maryland Historical Society 
hm a reinvigorated Publications Division that each year mm^ between two and 
four new b^oks on Maryland and regional history. In ^endar 1997, for ex- 
ample, the Society has released a chapter in local history, Middling Planters of 
Ruxton, 1694-1850, by Joseph M. Coale III, and the biography of an eminent 
nineteenth-century rehgious and scientific figure, /o/j« Gottlieb Morris: Man of 
God, Man of Science, by Mkl^ J. WttmAims tMs yes^ the MHS wii rd^«e SttM- 
ers 0f Annapolis, by Norman K. Risjord. In the past, our books sometimes have been 
reviewed in this magazine. That policy I must now reluctantly discontinue. 

Part of an editor's job is to do unpleasant things. (Thank heavens that is 
only part of the job.) In this case, to d«ny authors of books we publish the natu- 
ral exposure they rightly expect appears doubly cruel because no other local 
vehicle exists. With the distinguished exception of James H. Bready's monthly 
column on local books and authors — and books and authors have no greater 
friend than Mr. Bready, anywhere — the Baltimore Sun has for the most part 
momentarily turned its back on feedf^ii^isfeing. Furthermore, members of this 
Society have the right to know about our new books, and it has been pointed 
out to this desk that the magazine properly should be the vehicle to inform them. 
That argument finds no opposition here. 

But to those who tiiink Ais ^scontintiance uimecessary, perhaps priggish, I 
call your attention to the plight of the reviewer. As those who hmt doaie itlmow, 
reviewing books is hard work. It requires skillful criticism, elegant writing, and 
extensive knowledge of the field. These constitute a considerable burden, enough 
to bear w^KJUt tlie extra we^it iii^»@dtiioti fi-om omt^de. Very simply, what 
k a revkwer to teik when iie ^itfeher requests a revkw ©f thefttMi^^ 
book in the publisher's journal? More importantly, what should serious people 
think when that review appears? 

To these reasons not to review our own books I would add another: a strong 
concern for the reputation of this dwti^fw^d journal and the imprint of the 
Maryland Historical Society. The MHS is currently in a burst of growth, enjoy- 
ing renewed strength, widening support, and marvelous creative energy. As its 
role in interpreting state history expands — and its publications list grows — there 
must be no doubt about its professionalism. For the sake of our authors, our 
reviewers, our m&mh^s^,mid Mmjim^^iM ewerywh^e demoted te their history, 
we must avoid at all costs even the faintest suspicion of manipulation. 

We, the magazine staff that is, will therefore provide a new feature. MHS 


Book Notes will appear from time to time when new titles warrant, as a non- 
judgmental description of recent MHS books. We will attempt to strike out ad- 
jectives. We will neither praise nor criticize but provide a full iim&^p^M. of 
research methods, techniques, emphases, overall content, etc. Authors can rest 
assured that we will extensively promote and distribute their works for review in 
appropriate media. Reviewers can know that we ask naught but their honest 
opinions. Readers of this journal will get a better idea of a book's import and 
interest without wondering how a reviewer coped with a decidedly awkward 

We trust that readers, who expect the highest standards from this institu- 
tion, will understand the reasons for this decision. We will implement this policy 
with books published by the MHS this year. 


We call your attention to the opening of the Thomas Stone National His- 
toric Site at Stone's eighteenth-century residence, Haberdeventure, north of Port 
Tobacco. The house has been restored and will be administered by the National 
Park Service. The dedication will take place November 2, 1 997, and the ceremony's 
keynote speaker is Jean B. Lee, whose article on Stone follows. 



We report a typesetting error in Richard Striner's review oi American Sphinx: 
The Character of Thomas Jefferson, by Joseph J. Ellis (New York: Alfred A. BCnopf, 
1 997), on page 239 of the summer issue. The paragraph beginning, "Both Adams 
and Madison, in their different ways, . . ." is not indented and appears to have 
been written by the reviewer. In fact the prose is the author's. We regret the error 
and apologize to Mr. Ellis, Professor Striner, and the publisher. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Thomas Stone (1 743-1787), youngest of Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence, 
slipped into obscurity in the early nineteenth century. (Library of Congress.) 


In Search of Thomas Stone, 
Essential Revolutionary 


In October 1787, feeling weak and grieving deeply over the recent death of 
his wife, Thomas Stone waited at Alexandria, Virginia, for passage to the 
West Indies. Friends of the prominent Marylander expected that "a change 
of Climate & objects would better his health of body and mind," but he was 
pessimistic. In a farewell letter to his only son, Stone predicted that he would 
"not see you more." On October 5, still waiting to board ship, he died at the age 
of forty- four.' 

Since entering politics in 1774, Stone had devoted a tremendous amount of 
time and effort to contemplating, defining, and implementing the American 

Revolution. As a Continental congressman, he signed the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, helped draft the Articles of Confederation, and worked to strengthen 
the weak national government established under them. As a member of the 
Maryland Senate from its inception in 1777 until his death, he sigmficantly in- 
fluenced the transition from colony to state, from proprietary to republican gov- 
ernment. In committee rooms and on the floors of Congress and the state legis- 
lature, occasionally in the press, he debated vital issues linked to creating the 
n&ti@n. M^rg ttkffiiK^^e'Swne ais@ v^itsgifiei'Milykt^ iniK^fOtiatityns with 
Virgtaia, most niiteiSiy «t the M®«i!it ^femoif CMifferenc^ af 17»5, t^ch set in 
motion the process that led two years later to the Constitutional Convention in 
Philadelphia. Although he did not fight in the War for Independence, he actively 
participated in the war effort, whether at home in his native Charles County, 
attending Senate mmkumm ^Mif>©liei m i^p^esttiitg Ms^a^ni ifi iie Conti- 
nental Congress. Small wonder, therefore, that Stone's obituary not only cred- 
ited him with "eminent Talents of the Statesman and Legislator," which "had 
long since gained him the universal Confidence, Gratitude and Applause of his 
Fellow Citizens," but also predicted #iat"Ifi§ ItSSSWffl be felt by his Country."^ 

The nation may have felt %<j*ie's loss, but knowledge of his role in the Revo- 
lution soon faded from public memory. By the early nineteenth century only the 
sketchiest outline of his busy and productive career was available. Today, he re- 
mains Maryland's least known signer of the Declaration and also one of the 
nation's least remembered fooBtters. This essay considers why Stone so quickly 

Jean B. Lee is the author of The Price of Nationhood: The American Revolution 
in Charles County (1994). 



Maryland Historical Magazine 

A L E X A N D R I A, Oaober ti.- 
' On the Morning of the 5tli Inftant, departed this Life, 
in this Place, the Honourable THOMAS STONE, Efq; 
a Member of the Seriate of Maryknd ; a Man in wliofe 
CharaSVer were combined the donieftid Virtues of private 
Life, and the more eminent Talents of the Statefman and 
Legiflator.— His fmgular Affiduity and Integrity in dif- 
chargeof his Duty,.both as a profeffional Man, and in the 
feveral diftinguifliing and important Offices of public Tru'ft 
wherein he hath been placed by his Country, had long 
firice gained him the unirerlM Confidence, Gratitude and 
Applaufe of his Fellow- Citizens. — His Lol's will be felt 
by his ■ Country— to his Family and Friends it is irrepa- 
rable; ' 

Thomas Stone's obituary in the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, October 16, 1787, 
noted a life ydrtue and pubic trust. (Maryland Historical Society.) 

became obscure, a question related to broader issues of how the American Revo- 
lution was remembered from one generation to another. The essay also exam- 
ines the construction, over the last two centuries, of opposing interpretations of 
Stone as a revolutionary. In the early nineteenth century, a narrative of incon- 
stant authenticity, but great longevity, depicted a man ahead of his time in cham- 
pioning colonial rights. In the twentieth century, this narrative yielded to a sce- 
nario of a cautious, even reluctant patriot whose peers habitually overshadowed 
him. As this essay seeks to demonstrate, neither approach penetrates the life of a 
complex man who acutely and realistically assessed the potential dangers of In- 
dependence yet embraced it by July 1776, and who thereafter devoted much of 
his public life to the tedious but essential work of winning the war and creating 
stable national and state governments. 

Descent into Obscurity 

Among the fifty- six men who signed the Declaration of Independence, Thomas 
Stone was one of the youngest and earliest to die. Of the other Marylanders 
whose signatures appear on the document, William Paca died in 1799 at age 
fifty-nine and Samuel Chase in 1811 at age seventy, while Charles Carroll of 
CarroUton, who survived longer than any other signer, lived on into the Jackso- 
nian era and died in 1832 at the age of ninety-five. To nineteenth-century ob- 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


servers, the longevity of many of the signers seemed remarkable. They had "lin- 
gered into an age beyond their own" and received an "earthly reward, that they 
should witness the gathering of the rich and peaceful harvest which they had 
sown in tears and blood." Stone, however, did not enter the age beyond his own. 
He died just as the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia — to which he 
had been elected but which he declined to attend — finished drafting a new frame 
of government for the United States. Therefore he JiefdrteSilr^iie Cfawsttr- 
^^ttfi€iM0H4^jNi^ementation. He immr wli^i^ir i^mmimm' 
daring experiment in self-government was doomed, as he and many others feared 
during the 1780s, or whether a viable political system would secure the Revolu- 
tion proclaimed in the Declaration that bears his signature. He never gathered 
the "rich and peaceful harvest," asid knowledge of his public career seemingly 
died with him.^ 

By 1818, many of the signers joined Thomas Stone as largely forgotten par- 
ticipants in the founding epoch. That year a Baltimore resident named Joseph 
M.Swiii^!«ett, fochif 'h»tfM^te4ie^e^Miu^^»K wemse the 

de^ceiilfel® iiw^ity and elevate the ^nm' deeds to "the familiar topic of the 
day." He proposed publishing a collection of biographies, complete with en- 
gravings of their portraits and facsimiles of their signatures. In appealing for 
financial support from the public, Sanderson lectured his contemporaries as 
follows: "to revere their memories is a debt vfeki gn^fude (me, *nd as descen- 
dants of illustrious parents, we cannot be backward in discharging it." For pa- 
triotism and profit, he was tapping into anxieties that the Revolutionary genera- 
tion was yielding, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, to "a new generation whom 
we know not, and who kctow h^i*."* 

The first edition of the Biogrc^kyief^ke Signers to the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence appeared in nine volumes between 1823 and 1827 and is attributed not to 
Joseph Sanderson but to his brother and collaborator, John Sanderson of Penn- 
sylvania. The Biography aimed at authenticity and comprehensiveness. Deckred 
one a#»eitiiei»e»t, "in no <iiiiNif«3 '^liii^ft^ ^ lh« ^mmcm puMic, is 
there so various and interesting a massMii|g»»«i®n, pttyfe ftnd fttf**tte, relat- 
ing to the history of our country."' 

The entry for Thomas Stone, in the last volume, is peculiar. What is an un- 
usually scant sketch heptm t<^tto the observation that a few illmtrteus patriots 
were remembered only by family and firiends. But sinee Stone's death nearly four 
decades earlier, "so many changes have taken place among his relatives and im- 
mediate friends, that there is no one able, or willing, to describe his particular 
habits, virtues or achievements, or to testify [to] tbe iiwiiBfis e€ Mi short aisd 
ui^Mlfitto^ Me^-Mm^^^ iim^&ks4t§miSeiiL IHk, m #ie^m of lengthy 
instructions to the Maryland delegates in Congress. Before the volume went to 
press, unnamed fi-iends of the signer provided additional, more substantive in- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

formation, and this the compilers included in a separate appendix. Even so, little 
was said about Stone's role in the Revolution, much less what he thought about it.* 
' Matching the dearth of biographical narrative was Stone's omis«i6#i'fi?©iii 
one of the most famous paintings of a Revolutionary scene: John Trumbull's 
Declaration of Independence, which hangs in the rotunda of the United States 
Capitol. The artist completed this large canvas in 1818, the same year that Jo- 
seph Sanderson proposed the collective biography. Trumbull based the painting 
on a much smaller version that he had mostly finished in the 1790s, and for 
which he first executed or copied individual life portraits of members of Con- 
gress. Stone's likeness was not among them. By 1 8 1 8 Trumbull might have sought 
out a life portrait that still exists, yet he did not. Therefore, although Stone par- 
ticipated in the founding moment, he is miasfflfsirom the most famous visual 
image of it.*" 

Why did knowledge of the Marylander's life and achievements so rapidly 
fade? Were his early death and the subsequent unavailability of friends and fam- 
ily alone responsible, as the Saiid@»@it^»lsh seemed to indicate? Although these 
circumstances surely loomoi' JiigiMiilBiiie's descent into near anonymity, two 
additional factors proved instrumental as well. Not least was his unassuming, 
even self-effacing personality. Writing from Philadelphia in May 1 776, he volun- 
teered that "I am not ambitious of elevated Station" and readily acknowledged 
that congressional colleagues with be disifrced "perhaps are wiser than 
myself." Such modesty seems appropriate in a man then ranked among the young- 
est, least politically experienced congressmen. But this unpretentiousness per- 
sisted even after he became a respected political leader and one of the ablest 
lawyers in Maryland. For example, in Ae year of his life, v^ik Aferyland 
Senate and Mxmm '&i Delegates were embroiled in a widely publicized contro- 
versy over paper money, Stone skillfully and fully defended the Senate — and 
himself — in a long essay published in the Annapolis and Baltimore newspapers. 
Having doii« so^ he nevertheless hastened to c@iiifess "that I am ^ioraBt d many 
things which I have endeavoured to know. And I should be wasting i^cimdour 
not to declare, that every day's experience convinces me of the fallibility and 
weakness of my judgment." Here was a person utterly devoid of the loud, swag- 
gering self-assurance of a Patrick Henry or the confident self-righteousness of a 
Samuel Adams. Contemjd8tite,«lMi©8f He¥W^^ifti to dramatic statements or gran- 
diose gestures, Stone was less likely than more flamboyant Revolutionary leaders to 
hold the attention of biographers and, through their writings, the public.^ 

Nor did Stone's personal papers make him an attractive candidate for bio- 
graphical investigation. He neither wrote a memoir of his role in the Reircdutioii 
nor art iQ^d Jat #ie f>f^si'¥Stieey«#-ilis.'^i^eni. Ms son i^ht have done both, 
as other sons of founders did, but Frederick Stone died of yellow fever in 1793, 
at the age of eighteen. A few letters are in the papers of George Washington, 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


James Monroe, and other contemporaries, but much of what Stone retained 
subsequently became scattered. A significant portion of the corpus, taken to 
Virginia, rej>ortedly burned when the Union Army captured Richmon^Kfte 
end of the Civil War. Nothing at all survives from Stone's childhood, little from 
the years before he became active in politics, and only a portion from his Revo- 
lutionary career, 1774-87.' 

Of I%8tt^^®ne papers lfiaffl*«'lo1se^ssteMit, the greatest number are at the 
Maryland M»l^ical Society, the Marylan4^Sill»^ JteiiiK^e, msi Itwary ©f 
Congress. Passionate efforts of nineteenth-century autograph collectors, who 
tried to assemble sets of documents that each of "the fifty-six immortals" had 
signed, account for much of the scattering, but also for preservation. Because 
learned institutions and even a few businesses evaitually*eqtik«d'mitef signers' 
and other autograph sets. Stone material found its way, among other places, to 
historical societies in Maine, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois; uni- 
versity libraries in Virginia, Connecticut, Indiana, and Michigan; a municipal 
library in Nebraska; a theologic*! t^intry in California; and even a brewing 
company in Wisconsin. The fragmentation of the original corpus of writki^, 
together with outright destruction, »^k»n why a full-length biography has never 
been written.'" 

Remembering a Signer 

The appendix printed in Sanderson's Biography of the Signers to the Declara- 
tion of Independence (volume 9, 1827) laid the foundation for a narrative of 
Stone's life. Repeated countless times over the next 170 years, the sketch is a 
scKMtrio ©f h^inble beginnings overcome through persemance and hard work, 
of ifl^idfmte dtf^dlion to f^m^ wmmmrmi^^Mt $n "G&d, and willingness to 
offer "time and talents . . . [when] called to the aid of his suffering country." For 
an expansive republic caught up in raucous individualism, rapid economic 
growth, and divisive sectional politics, the didactic intent of the narrative could 
not have been dearer, ft pfeee^' fe^we readfers a ttisrti #Ofn' Amerfca's heiiotc age, 
a man whose devotion to — and sacrifices for — nation and family not only de- 
served "our respect and public gratitude," but merited emulation." 

Stone emerges in the pages of the 1827 volume as a self-made man. A studi- 
ous youth t^o tedeed efte^fli^eiMSWt his feher ("a plain farma-"), the 
future sign^ pursued a <3s^cifl ^ucia*i0ii in GhsH'les County, studied law in 
Annapolis, married Margaret Brown who brought to their union "only" £1,000 
sterling, established a law practice "neither extensive nor lucrative," and bought 
a large farm where he settled his growing family ("the soil was thin"). After the 
"arduous" ytm years, he prospered and "his professional reputation rose to very 
distinguished eminence."'^ 

The sketch also presents an accomplished legislator and pious, caring par- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

ent. Here the narrative benefited immeasurably from the recollections of an 
unidentified informant who served with Stone in the Maryland Senate and char- 
acterized him as "most truly a perfect man of business" — ^intelligent, 'VifeWaiii 
powerful" in his reasoning capacities, serious, mild-mannered, and both reserved 
and sociable. Few other men, the informant believed, "could commit their 
thoughts to paper, with more facility or greater strength of argument." The nar- 
ratiw gained even more svM^mm with the-MKtesfen of tvfo of Stone's own 
letters, penned at h^g^ii^ifvoignanl: moments. In the first, he broke the news df 
the battles of Lexington and Concord, then told his wife, "Pray God preserve 
you, and bless our little ones. We are like to see times, which will require all our 
fortitude to bear up against," In the second letter, written with the premonition 
of immiment de&th, he f^me^ m^^'itiiaSliei.-waikvmi&m. M hm mnif heir, 
"which I leave you as a legacy." The letter embodies a father's fervent wish that 
his son would ever be pious, morally upright, industrious, studious, and protec- 
tive of his sisters, Margaret and Mildred. Above all, Stone advised Frederick, "do 
your duty to God in ^rit «ldte*r«#i ... be assured he is ^hmfSfj^sent" and 
"let your aim in life be to attain to goodness rather than greatness among men. 
The former is solid, the latter all vanity, and often leads to ruin in this and the 

next world I speak from experience,"" 

In addition to being largely silent about Stone's role in the Revolution, this 
first attempt to construct a biography contains dgnificant factual errors and 
misrepresentations. Contradicting the scenario of humble beginnings, for ex- 
ample, both Stone and his wife belonged to prominent, propertied gentry fami- 
lies; Margaret Brown Stone's contribution of "only" £1,000 to the marriage ac- 
tually €o05tkttted a muk^ fmtUm^ md S^mm imaseM inherited a substantial 
patrimony. Furthermore, the sketch advances claims for which contemporary 
evidence is lacking, most importantly the assertion that Stone read law under 
Maryland's Revolutionary leader and first state governor, Thomas Johnson. From 
a nineteenth-century perspective, the account had an even greater flaw: it was 
mute a^ut Stone's patriotism — cgiesftt fee an m»ki^mim, ^^mx^bstmOm^ as- 
sertion that, by listening to discussions of the Stamp Act crisis, his "political 
principles were fixed" and he subsequently harbored a "strong feeling of indig- 
nation" against the British government. Such a vague characterization paled 
before hereic pertea^s of other founders, and of the Revolution itself* 

In tiie nineteen^ CCnttM^- the United States experienced rapid continental 
expansion, dramatic economic and technological development, divisive section- 
alism, explosive population growth, and the arrival of millions of immigrants 
who knew little of American history and institutions. Against this backdrop the 
I Evolution functioned as abedrock of patriotism, a touchstone of national iden- 

I tity, a unifying element in a centripetal society rushing headlong toward an un- 

' certain future. Invoking the founding epoch for these purposes meant that its 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


immense complexity had to give way — be simplified, reduced — to symbols, max- 
ims, and H«ri«#res ab«iBf ifeerty, nationalism, and patrksttsra. Utilizing — and 
crften mythologizing — the Revolution for fundamental principles reached its apex 
in the legend of Valley Forge, which recalled the truly horrendous sufferings of 
the Continental Army during the winter of 1 777-78; in the cherry tree story and 
other tales that Mason Weems, the Maryland parson and it&Mratft bo^ksdkr, 
invented i^m&t &mt^ WieM&0&m m§im^ 9^ motf, l*^ich one of 
her grandsons first told about 1870, and which falsely credited her with design- 
ing and sewing the first American flag. Whether true or false, such narratives 
served equally well in conveying ideals like virtue and patriotic self-sacrifice, 
which had always Is^^trongly associated wiii #ifrfe«wM0nt. These narra- 
tives helped for^, in Abraham Lincoln's words, "mystic chords of memory" that 
bound the American people to the nation.'^ 

Signers of the Declaration of Independence understandably ranked among 
the exemplars i^^Aiiidamental principles and ideals. But in being elevated, en 
masse, to paragons <&{'p«6r^&l^m^ <^mf fl^iieii to he redttimA' m v^^mif pre- 
scient, unwavering, unerring advocates of colonial rights and American nation- 
hood. How could it be otherwise when, according to a New England minister 
named Charles A. Goodrich, writing in 1848, "the statesmen and heroes of the 
revolution were raised up by the God of heaven, for the important and definite 
pwj^e lef adiieving the independence of America"? Momentarily ignoring 
Washington, Goodrich proposed that no revolutionaries "present themselves 
with more interest to the rising generation, than those who composed the con- 
gress of 1 776," and whose "patriotism and constancy and cem&§e . . . can scarcely 
fail of impa[tmi§«L imm m-mK mttSnm.'^l^dbmt X- Gmrad, who in 1846 
abridged the Sanderson opus to a one-volume edition that could be more widely 
and less expensively distributed, similarly exalted the signers, but with celestial 
imagery: "Their lives, like the orbs that constitute the milky way, are one stream 
of light; atKl the §.ms df Ae hism^pkm, ts It p^^rces the 6tn tttstre, only reveals 
stars which are bri^a: mteA is watched and studied."'* 

If Thomas Stone was to remain an acknowledged member of the celestial 
pantheon, imagination would have to compensate where evidence was wanting. 
Or, where surviving evidence fi-actured ffle*%nc Stffcam of light," revision wotfld 
be needed. Por the Marylander did not fit the unitary image of the signef s tfen 
being constructed. No known source dating fi-om the Revolutionary period es- 
tabHshes any occasion on which he spoke out against or otherwise resisted the 
Stamp Act, the Townshend duties on trade, or the Declaratory Act in which Par- 
liament proclain^ its MlH^eftlacy over the protesting colonies. On the other 
hand, plentifiil evidence from the spring of 1776 reveals that, although by then 
Stone strongly distrusted the British government, he anguished over what he 
regarded as a precipitous plunge into Independence. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

In April of that year he candidly expressed both resolve in the face of "min- 
isterial Tyranny" and desire fer reconciliation and "Peace upon Terms of Secu- 
rity and Justice to America." In May, radical delegates in Congress, men like 
John Adams and Richard Henry Lee, pushed through a resolution not only ad- 
vising that "the exercise of every kind of authority under the . . . crown should be 
totally suppressed, and all the powers of government exerted, tiiid*» ttieauidiCM:- 
ity of the pw^i" but dso rec(Mnm^diBf ^B^^atote^^wtbeiit "sufficient" gov- 
ernments should form them. At that poi^ Ae Maryland delegation walked out 
because their instructions from the Provincial Convention, the extralegal as- 
semblage at Annapolis that coordinated the colony's resistance to British poli- 
cies, barred them from supporting any severaiwB^tiMpCTM ties. Whereas Adams 
exulted in what he pronounced "the most important Resolution, that ever was 
taken in America," Stone was distraught."' 

"The Dye is cast," he wrote shortly after exiting Congress. "The fatal Stab is 
given, to any fetee Connection between this C^nfry ^ Ssiinm: except in the 
F^atioftof C«»|iu«m & va^uished, wych I e^i't tiitiik^f wiikmtt Horror 8c 
Indignation." Fueling his distress were rumors that British emissaries, vested 
with authority to negotiate an end to the imperial crisis, might soon arrive. In 
addition, he knew that the momentous, uncompromising measure had passed 
with the support of only six or seven colonies (at least two others were not even 
represented in Congress at the time), and that Maryland and most other polities 
had not yet committed themselves to Independence. Hence, to Stone, 

Never was a &irer Cause, wi^ mme promising appearances of final 

Success ruined die ira^ amd^ipeecipitate Councils of a few men 

to strike a decisive Stroke & . . . when the Minds of Men are not pre- 
pared for such an Event, to cut the only Bond which held the discor- 
dant Members of the Empire together, appears to me the most weak 
and ill judged Measure I ever met with in a State which had the least 
Pretention to wisdom or Knowledge in the Affiiirs of Men. 

He assumed that the Provincial Convention faced only two possible responses 
to the bold congressional move: "dtdmre esepiicitly that you will go all Lengths 
with the majcffity of Congress or that you will not join in a War to be carried on 
for the purposes of Independency & new Establishments, and will break the 
Union or rather not enter into one for these Ends." Either response he consid- 
ered dangerous and extreme." 

Nineteenth-century writers either knew nothing of, or ignored. Stone's dread 
of the mounting tide of Independence. No matter. They simply transformed 
him into an early, even impatient advocate of American rights and Indepen- 
dence. Once again, the Sanderson sketch established the dominant theme, which 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


other writers adopted and embellished. In the second edition of the Biography of 
the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, published in 1828, Stone became 
a man of consistent "patriotic devotedness" who reacted to the Stamp Act with 
the "ardent temperament of youth." In Congress, he allegedly supported the May 
1776 recommendation about adopting governments outside of Crown author- 
ity, and chafed at the Provincial Convention's refusal to permit the Maryland 
delegation to support Independence. When freed to do so, in late June, he 
promptly voted for and signed the Declaration." 

Subsequent biographical sketches outdid Sanderson in hyperbole. Stone's 
"manly and independent conduct" and otherwise exemplary behavior "inspired 
hopes . . . never disappointed, that he was destined to be an honour and orna- 
ment to his profession and his country." The Marylander surely ran "several years 
in advance of a great portion of his fellow citizens, in his patriotic feelings and 
sentiments." A "true specimen of the very salt of the body politic," he "earned a 
rich and honourable feme, imperishable as the pages of history, lasting as human 
intelligence." By the centennial of Independence in 1876 the verdict was unanimeptti: 
Stone had early and consistently "espoused the cause of his country."^" 

After the sesquicentennial in 1 926, however, the hyperbole dissolved and Stone 
reemerged as a cautious, even reluctant Revolutionary. Why the interpretive shift 
occurred is a mystery, but likely reasons indude greater availability of his surviving 
writings and, even more, the transformation of Great Britain, archenemy in most 
nineteenth-century histories of the Revolution, into the staunchest ally of the United 
States after World War 1. The latter development may have made more palatable 
Stone's hope, in 1776, that the colonies would not separate from the British empire 
unless they first exhausted aU efforts at reconciliation. The Stone entry published in 
the Dictionary of American Biography in 1936 reads, "Although his sympathies were 
entirely with the colonists when the break with England came, he always seems to 
have favored a milder course than many of his fellow representatives" in Congress. 
This statement, paraphrased repeatedly over the last sixty years, created an opportu- 
nity for a ftaller, more realistic appraisal of Stone's role in the Revolution.^' 

It did not happen. Instead, commentary has grown cryptic while simulta- 
neously portraying a modest, unambitious man who remained in the background 
as Revolutionary upheaval swirled about him. In yet another biographical sketch, 
published in 1988, Stone is a ^Mm^^l§mt^l^-^^pmiii^^^tMAY through the 
turbulent early years of this country's life, making only ripples in the political 
waters of his time." Adding visual impact to the most recent interpretive turn, a 
modern painting by Baltimore artist Stanislav Rembski, reproduced in the Mary- 
land Bicentennial Commission's pamphlet on the state's four signers, shows them 
gathered mmind the Declaration and its pritjiary author, Thomas Jefferson. Stone 
stands unimposingly at the rear of the scene, a small figure distant from the 
focal point of the painting.^^ 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Charles County, Maryland, in 1794. (Maryland Historical Society.) 

In sum, the narrative has come full circle in two centuries, from the obscu- 
rity that enshrouded Stone for decades after his death, to the early and ardent 
patriot of nineteenth-century accounts, to obscurity once again. This state of 
affairs med ucrt c<»tkMa;€, for an array of official records and private correspon- 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


dence yields a much broader, more penetrating account of his pubHc Hfe. His 
career merits scrutiny and reassessment because, beyond signing one of the 
nation's most sacred texts, Stone in his thoughtful way partook of his generation's 
greatest, most challenging task: creating a unique and viable nation. He dedi- 
cated his hfe to finding an orderly passage through the turbulent, uncharted 
waters of revotetion, and if at times the voyage frightened him, in that he was 
typical of his generation. It is not an exaggeration to hold that his contributions, 
and those of men like him, were e^eaitial to founding the republic. 

The Emergence of a Revolutionary 

One can readily imagine Stone's life without the Revolution. His family en- 
joyed eminent respectability. Whereas most white Marylanders whose Ameri- 
can roots ran back to ^«riiii«®^fft -century were descended from indentured 
servants, the Stone f&mify h«d always belonged to the gentry. Thomas's great- 
great-grandfather, William Stone (ca. 1603-60), served as the colony's first Prot- 
estant governor and received from Lord Baltimore five thousand acres of Charles 
County land, named Poynton Maiier, ^i^tfi^llfemias was bom in 1 743. W^fjhJat- 
grandfather and grandfather, John Stone (1648-97) and Thomas Stone (1677- 
1727), continued the lineage's political prominence and held important offices, 
including colonial legislator, county court justice, sheriff, and Anglican vestryman. 
This tradition of ofificeholding ceased in the lourtii generation with Thomas's 
father David Stone (1709-73). Nonetheless, David, who reportedly "had the char- 
acter of an honest upright & well desposed man," maintained the family's social 
position, for he owned nearly six hundred acres of land and more than fifty 
slaves, and he twice married daughters of local gentry families, the Hansons and 

Thomas Stone enhanced the family's standing in colonial society. In addi- 
tion to establishing a successful law practice, in 1 768 he married Margaret Brown, 
heiress to a large legacy from her father Gustavus Brown (d. 1762), a Scottish 
laird, Edinburgh-trained physician, and Maryland magistrate and planter. No 
doubt with the aid of Margaret's fortune, Thomas in 1770 bought a 442-acre 
plantation called Haberdeventure, the first of many purchases that within a few 
years made him one of the largest landovmers in Charles County. At Haberde- 
venture, in an attractive house completed about 1773, the Stones and their chil- 
dren, Margaret, MiWr«d, md Frederick, set^ai info the dfOwie^ic arid agrioil- 
tural rhythms of southern Maryland. Slaves whom the couple inherited or pur- 
chased worked the land and tended to the needs of the household.^'' 

Even without the Revolution, Thomas Stone stood a good chance of re- 
claiming his progertittji-s' trsMtkm'-^ (As^mMii^. Hirough his maternal 
uncle, Daniel of St. Thomas J^fe, 'ke' i«d access to h%h proiarietary circles 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Margaret Brown Stone (1751-87) brought 
wealth and social standing to her marriage. 
(National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian 

from which emanated appointments to the courts, government administrative 
offices, and the Council that functioned as both upper house of the legislature 
and advisory body to the governor. Had the young lawyer wanted to test his 
popularity with the voters, his social standing made him a prime candidate for 
vestryman of his local parish of the Church of England. He might also have 
competed for one of four Charles County seats in the lower house of the Assem- 
bly, the House of Delegates, whose "popular" party often contested proprietary 

By the early 1770s Stone seemed destined for the proprietary, appointive 
track. At the time, loud debates over two issues attracted enormous public at- 
tention and rived Maryland politics: fees that proprietary officials charged for 
their services and, secondly, the salaries that Anglican ministers collected through 
levies on all taxpayers. In the latter controversy, Stone joined a team of attorneys 
engaged by the proprietary government for a widely watched case in Charles 
County. Arrayed against them was a legal team headed by leading members of 
the popular party, Samuel Chase and William Paca, who not only won the case 
but also tarred Stone and his colleagues with defending an odious clerical tax 
that allegedly violated the rights of Englishmen. And in the wake of the trial. 
Stone found that the county sheriffs, whose responsibilities included collecting 
attorneys' fees, refused to collect his. In early 1 774 he told a creditor, "I have been 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


almost ruined this year by the scandalous conduct of Sheriffs towards me." Con- 
sidering the way in which Stone first gained widespread public notice, his mete- 
oric rise in Revolutionary politics appears astonishing.^'' 

During the spring of 1774, in response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament 
passed a series of laws subsequendy branded the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. 
Although few colonists applauded destruction of the tea, many considered the 
British response— *i«&f*ifiilt©f Bosto#«ifi[^e tea was piM fef-^dif-aeo- 
nian. Worse, colonists everywhere felt threatened because Parliament unilater- 
ally altered the structure and powers of government in Massachusetts. The Co- 
ercive Acts galvanized resistance to British imperial policies. Across America 
diaftlig^ttiMMf@riii^fiis, extralegal meetings ftt%#PrM^^ counties ii!^)^- 
ated<>n itecaask «i»i^^iii^iN»^^maiii?es to colon'f^^d€ e@i$¥eftlM]i6, which in 
turn elected delegates to the first meeting of the Continental Congress in Phila- 
delphia that September. The organizational framework of revolution, which 
would carry the colonies to Independence and statehood, had been created.^'' 

Against this backdrop of events, Thomas SMWKfc 5«Wult^ i^Wihe lKmt Mnk 
of the patriot leadership in Maryland. In June 1774, a popular meeting in Charles 
County elected him to the local committee of correspondence, charged with 
keeping abreast of political developments, and also to the first Provincial Con- 
vention at Annapcdis. At the-^sosiKi (%n?@^ion the following Decemfees, caHed 
to comi^ veomitiindatians i^M'Qm^mm,- Stow* mppw%ei t trade smbargo 
intended to persuade the British to back down, and he helped lay the ground- 
work for a voluntary patriot militia. The December session also elected him to 
the Continental Congress. He was the first congressman from Maryland not to 
have sat in the legislature, and the only one without a strong »iiti-f>roprietary 
record and reputation. His lack of political experience also made him an anomaly 
when he entered Congress in 1775 and joined the likes of Thomas Jefferson, 
Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel and John Adams.'^' 

Why this stunning rise in Revohationary politics? To argue, as did nineteenth- 
century ffli@p«tistic histories, itoi ^e»e far outdistanced "a great portion of his 
fellow citizens, in his patriotic feelings and sentiments" cannot be persuasive in 
view of his service to the proprietary regime. Nor can his admitted competence 
explain why, at a time of mounting crisis, the Provincial Convention chose him, 
not a more politically seasoned man, to represent Maryfend in Congress. His 
known moderation and contemplative stance surely proved attractive in a colony 
that would follow a cautious path toward Independence, but here again, more 
prominent men enjoyed similar reputations. Some other catalytic element must 
have propelled Stone along so rapidly, and I suggest that his election to Congress 
represented a not-too-subtle way in which patriot leaders courted Stone's uncle, 
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer. A protege of Governor Horatio Sharpe, Jenifer had 
enjoyed a brilliant career as councilor. Provincial Court judge, and chief fiscal 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

officer of the colony. But he fell from grace politically after Sir Robert Eden suc- 
ceeded to the gowettebcship in 1769. By 1774 all tru»t between thctvf^ nieniiad 
broken down, and Jenifer was guardedly cultivating connections with the patri- 
ots. Still, he was not yet prepared to quit the proprietary camp. Stone's election 
to Congress, therefore, may well have been aimed at drawing Jenifer into the 
patriot circle. If so, the strategy worked because he soon became a<Xn<e ta siEtea- 
kspil-]^«iikt.ti(^ yHNH«»d for the fifth gen«Mlian of Stones in America — the 
Revolution amounted to a political renaissance.^' 

Stone joined Congress at a particularly tense and fateful moment. All along 
the route he traveled to Philadelphia in May 1775, people talked excitedly about 
tl^ recent ^hting h^a^em the King's troopsmMMmmdmst^tmmSkmen at 
h^mg^m and Conas8r4t The bloodshed there, he feared, would reduce Britain 
and the colonies to a state "which no friend of either, ever wished to see" and 
might even dash all hopes for reconcihation, "a situation of affairs, which all 
thiflkm§r]i3ieii must shudder at." Soon after he piiileraled hk car^ostkris, Gcm- 
gress created the Continental Army and Unanimously chose George Washing- 
ton commander-in-chief" 

Stone's apprehensive reaction to Lexington and Concord revealed a deep, 
abiding commitment to reconciliation and peace. A year later he told Jenifer 
that "I wi^ to conduiC* affairs sf>thaitmjfast & honourable reconciliation should 
^fe. place." Hence his dismay and anger in May 1776 when Congress, by no 
more than a bare majority of the thirteen colonies, recommended that all colo- 
nies throw off the authority of the Crown (and thereby abrogate their charters). 
He despairei^til^ Cbut "ihn^t^giiiitfagitJi^k^IbrfitS'ke offered |M«servi«g 
the suboT'dkiate relation of this<QmMli|ttQ A^ain[,] I much question if they 
would be accepted by the present iw^^^f Temper of America." Even after vot- 
ing for Independence, Stone briefly remained willing to explore any viable pros- 
pect for reconciliation. In the midst of the campaign of 1 776 at New York, a 
campaign in which Washii>^nf@ii lietrl^ jeiMriAiiiiOentinental Army and Maryland 
troops suffered severe casualties in ferocious fighting, Stone spoke out in Con- 
gress in favor of one last effort at negotiating a settlement acceptable in both 
Britain and America.^' 

NtJfieif, however, did he&vOFA^iii^t anyeMibPeace had to be "upon Terms 
of Security and Justice to America," and "War, any thing is preferable to a Sur- 
render of our Rights." Like many of Ms contemporaries, he suspected a British 
"ministerial Tyranny" and hoped that colonists would "not suffer ourselves to 
be lulled or wheedled by any deceptions" or "deceitfuU" gestures toward recon- 
ciliation. Two months before Independ^Ke he worried that, if British peace com- 
missioners appeared, their real purpose be »0W divisions among the 
colonies, not redress their grievances.'^ 

Several principles guided Stone through the difficult months before July 4, 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


1 776. First, Americans must prepare to defend themselves against what he termed, 
in a letter to Washington, "the Calamities of War."" Second, the colonies needed 
to be united in anything so momentous as separating from the mother country. 
Third, before Maryland's Provincial Convention could possibly endorse rend- 
ing of the British empire, the v(»{^uli» die voice of the people, first had to be 
heard. •'■ 

Amidst escalating war#f«,'§tBffl* Argued that "we must take Care to do every 
thing which is necessary for our Security and Defense," and he worked hard to 
realize that goal for his own colony. While attending the Provincial Convention 
during the summer of 1775, just after the American defeat at the Battle of Bun- 
ker Hill, and again during the winter of 1775-76, when a British fleet and Virginia's 

waters of the Chesapeake, Stone served on important committees that devel- 
oped plans for putting Maryland "into the best state of Defense." Acting on the 
committees' reports, the convention instituted compulsory militia service and 
estabhshed what became th«! fomoOf Klii^nd Line of ift^ C*!f"fti«fttsl Army. 
Stone helped draft measures for recruiting and regulating the troops. Back in 
Congress, he worked to procure arms and supplies for them and also passed 
military inteUigence between Congress and his correspondents in Annapolis.'* 

Stone's second guiding principle — that be pretty ufi!i9Hf»o«in 

a resolution to fight it out for IMiSpisaSMm, the pro^^'f^'€i»'<^ilet this is not 
to move too quick" — reflected his conviction that Independence could not pos- 
sibly succeed unless supported by united colonies. Considering the broad spec- 
trum of opinions, within and among them, about what should be done, the 
msvei^cal members of C&i^m^^MmtMwM^ iieif zeal. Indeed, unless people 
had time for the thoughtful, unimpeded deliberation they deserved, colonial 
unity would prove chimerical. During his entire political career, nothing caused 
him more anguish than the "destructive Precipitancy" of more radical members 
of Congress during May of 1776. Their engineering of tht r^!COfflfiHtifd«Sti«n to 
supp^tM€s:mm «ate%^m«^ltfM)ildWli'M^^«i^ admitted a gleeful 
John Adams — violated the integrity of most colonies, including Maryland: they 
had not signaled readiness for this drastic step. Stone thought the recommenda- 
tion a catastrophe, moreover, because it subverted possible peace negotiations 
and also because, if such ite ^e H ^ i & ii l ' M ^^en "the General & almost unani- 
mous Voice of America would have been for seperation [sic]."" 

After the Maryland delegates walked out of Congress in protest, Stone con- 
fided that "I am distressed beyond the Bearing of a Man who has much more 
PMlosophy than -ef&c I ms ble»8ed*'Wl(l!, %f eefitemplating probable Ev^S M 
this Country." Always reaif W-«cknowledge his own limitations and possible 
errancy, he regarded his situation as "truly disagre[e]able — could I sit with the 
same happy Indifference I observe in others when matters of the last conse- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

quence are in agitation or could I bring my mind to view with Apathy the de- 
structive Tendency of Measures!,] or at least appearing to me «, li^ik-h I can't 
prevent, or could I bring my Temper to bend to the Principles of &me, who 
perhaps are wiser than myself, I should be less miserable."^' 

"Totally useless" in Congress, able only to offer "fruitless Opposition," he 
\i^£ited to be f ec^kd. "My feelings are too keen, my Concern for those whose 
kq»pines5 1 wish to secm^^e^mtsf m il tit ' <wiy Co^^ution too stiff to allow of 
my Continuance with tolerable Ease to myself," he complained. But in late May 
the Provincial Convention retained the entire Maryland delegation, along with 
instructions reiterating that "this convention is firmly persuaded that a reunion 
with Great Brit«M ©ft constitwtiMial principles would most tfffecfually secure 
the rights and liberties, and increase the strength and promote the happiness of 
the whole empire, objects which this province hath ever had in view." The Con- 
vention also unanimously affirmed "the sole and exclusive right" of the people 
of Maryland to regulate their internal affairs. At stake was nothing less than 
wb«tii<^ authority and political mmmmltmim resided in the^kidMdu^l (X^xfies 
or in Congress. For his part. Stone pensively wrote that "If our councils Could 
but be tempered with a proper Degree of moderation & attention to the Inclina- 
tions & even weaknesses of our people all would be well; but I think they will not 
[be] drive [ii] &«n Att^pt to do such an injmryto itoe feeMngs of freemen will 
have fatal Consequences."" 

Soon Stone's personal struggle ended and he turned to embrace Indepen- 
dence. For by mid- June he concluded that "from every Account and Appearance 
the King and his Ministers seem determined to hazacd every thing upon llie 
Success of the Swc^d; with otttisi^ttiiid^any Tern% M America wliich die &&^t 

to accept Peace & Security . . . seems not attainable in the present disposition 

of the ruling powers of Britain." He refrained from publicly advocating Inde- 
pendence, however, because of the third principle to which he adhered: only 
ipofular sentiment could determiBe Ma^fim<^ course. Although a resolution 
"that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent 
States" lay before Congress that month, Stone wrote on behalf of his delegation 
to ask that the Provincial Convention meet to consider "this decisive Measure." 
But first, its members ought "to collect the opinion of the people at large," for 
"we wish to have the fsrir and uninfluenced Sense of the People we have the 
Honour to represent."^' 

In quick succession, popular meetings, encouraged by Samuel Chase and 
other patriot leaders who had no hesitancy about pushing for separation, gave 
the impression that tJ»e coiewy was ^'Wit^mg hst towards independence." By the 
time the convention met at Annapolis in late June, Governor Eden was aboard a 
British ship bound for England, and eleven colonies (all except Maryland and 
New York) had authorized their congressional delegations to vote for Indepen- 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


dence. On June 28 Maryland became the twelfth to commit, but only on condi- 
tion thatt "llic TOletmd dxdti^e right of regvilating the inta-ri«d'^v«r»lH«ift awd 
police of this colony be reserved to the people thereof." That sequence of events 
satisfied Stone. Shortly after Congress proclaimed Independence to the world, 
he exulted with uncharacteristic bellicosity, "May God send Victory to the Arm 
Ifflied ta Support of righteousness, Virtue & Freedom, and cruA «ne*i to de- 
struction the power which wsim^ll fmmM 't&»m^ on the rights of mankind."^' 

The anguished struggle that culminated in those words can fully be appreci- 
ated only if we recover the world Stone inhabited. No European colony in the 
Western Hemisphere had ever successfully rebelled and established its autonomy. 
Would thirteen Briti^ ci8i©Hte*e ^Hfireff'C^rtainly no European imperial 
powe^^ii*onarchies all — would welcome an example of elected, independent 
governments rising along the western rim of the Atlantic Ocean. Even if Ameri- 
cans managed to prevail against the military might of Britain, could they estab- 
lish stable polities? Conventional wisdom adjudged popularly controlled repub- 
lics the least stable kind of governffientsfM^i^toic^wos^iid anarchy. Who could 
foresee the economic consequences of Independence? Within the empire the 
mainland colonies had achieved impressive rates of economic growth, but their 
economies were massively imbalanced between exported agricultural products 
and imported manufactured goods. How would Americans survive economi- 
cally, especially with a war in progress? Finally, would rebellion against political 
authority generate social upheaval, too? Already New England Baptists had trav- 
eled to Philadelphia to protest state-supported churches, and Abigail Adams had 
admonished her husband to "Remember the Ladies" when writing laws for a 
new nation. Only in feigned jest did John Adams reply, "We have been told that 
our Struggle has loosened the bands of Government every where," among chil- 
dren, apprentices, Indians, and slaves, and now, he realized, among women.*" 

In addition to such enormous imponderables, alarming realities also con- 
fronted cautious men like Stone. However much they abhorred Britain's tram- 
pling on proclaimed colonial rights, they also worried about errant power closer 
to home, in Philadelphia. The aggressiveness and impatience of enthusiasts in 
Congress, their dismissal and even ridicule of positions different from their own, 
seemed all too threatening in a crisis, fundamentally, over where political power 
and sovereignty resided. Even before the resolution to suppress ro^l authority. 
Stone, again writing for his delegation, branded Congress's treatment of Mary- 
land "cruel and injur[i]ous to the last Degree," to which patriot leaders in An- 
napolis responded, "We consider the Authority of the whole Province trampled 
upon and insulted (if not conspired against)."*' 

At the very moment when the colonies stood poised between an irretriev- 
able past and a future laden with uncertainty and danger. Stone and like-minded 
men performed invaluable service. For how could the colonies assert, as they 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

had in Congress, a right to control their internal affairs without parliamentary 
interference if somecotewies, also through Congress, tried to determine the course 
of all? Richard Henry Lee and others argued that, for those colonies whose elected 
patriot conventions had not endorsed separation, "advice" to cut imperial ties 
and create new governments should emanate from Congress. But that argument 
lighted the massive, revolutionary transformation underway ia , /toxica, to 
polities ongmxtit^m'W^pmf^f^ insistir^m^e^i^mem&m wkitf ii«t si- 
multaneously respected the autonoiBffiJif individual colonies, by adhering to 
the principle that, in each polity, some kind of popular consent must precede 
Independence, Stone and other "cautious" patriots worked to ground the lofty 
Ths^^mis of iJk l^i^^^tiioii m tetWilf. fe the process, they also raised one of 
tkg'Oatit vital issues the new states would confro«t«<aadi Wie of the most endur- 
ing questions in our natioiiuil history: whatii. l^tMKuns<tf the wiion of Ameri- 
can states?^^ 

Securing Independmce, I>efisiif <ik|»:eseratative Government 

During the rest of his public career, Thomas Stone frequently engaged the 
many questions that cascaded from the decision for Independence. He explored 
the meaning of the exhilarating yet inspecific words of the Maryland Declara- 
tion of Rights (1776), that "all government of right originates from the people, 
is f0^jnd6d fa tompact only, and instituted solely for the good of llie whole." He 
hdfjed define the structures and powers of the new political order and sup- 
ported the war effort. Afterward he promoted economic development that, he 
believed, would link together the distant regions of the new country. Upon con- 
cluding that the national government created under the Articles of Confedera- 
tion was mucfl too weak, he worked to strengthen it. In sum, he participated in 
the most politically creative period in United States history and helped fashion 
the unique American system of republican government. He did these things pri- 
marily while occupying two offices: member of the Maryland Senate, the upper 
hotise of the Icjgiskttife, froitt t?ff tiflti life in 1787', and Continental 
congressman in 1776, 1778, and 1784."' 

Public offices imposed an immense drain on his time, energy, health, family 
life, and law practice. Although hoping that circumstances would enable him 
"to devote my whole time & Attention to the publick Service," he often found 
himielf declining one responsibility in order to carry out another. For example, 
in early 1777 he interrupted his attendance at the inaugural meeting of the Sen- 
ate in order to nurse family members at Haberdeventure. "I found it absolutely 
necessary to innoculate for the small pox to prevent my family receiving that 
very dangerous DiscA^ef in the Natural Way," he explained, and "persons to at- 
tend the sick arfe hcH tcs he j^boiffed IfeSt tfcKii . . . nece^itated Me to perform 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


Haberdevetiture, the Stone family home in Charles County, housed Thomas Stone's extended family 
during the Revolution. (Library of Congress.) 

that distressing Office — or expose them to sufferings which my feelings would 
not bear." The following year he returned to Congress in Philadelphia, but soon 
resigned with the explanation that "I cannot attend Congress so constantly as 
every Delegate ought to do, without giving up the Practice of the Law." A day 
later he took his seat in the state senate. In 1784, with Congress temporarily 
sitting at Annapolis, Stone again agreed to represent Maryland, but not before 
attending the Prince George's County Court where several clients "have [a] great 
part of their property at stake, in Causes there depending, in which I have been 
concerned and relied on as Counsel." Certain that the cases "will be struck off 
[the docket] or tried if it is known that I am not to be at Court," he insisted on 
stopping there before hastening to Congress. Some time later, having traveled to 
Annapolis to fulfill a legislative mandate to meet with representatives of Vir- 
ginia, he came under attack for missing a session of the Charles County Court. 
Not surprisingly, when approached about taking an office under the Confedera- 
tion government, he refused with these words: "A great part of my time is al- 
ready devoted to the public Service as a Member of our Senate[,] the remainder 
is not sufficient to execute the Duties of my profession and give a proper Atten- 
tion to the Variety of private and family Affairs . . . under my Care. Indeed, I am 
so pressed by a Variety of Business that I can scarcely execute any part of it as it 
ought to be done."'*'' 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Averse to "declining all public engagements" and frequently plagued with 
poor health, Stone tried to curtail his law practice, but with little apparent suc- 
cess. Clients sought him out, including Charles Carroll of CarroUton who pro- 
nounced him one of "the two best lawyers that practice in our courts of law." 
Others agreed. In Charles County alone, Stone represented clients in about half 
of the court cases during the 1780s. Practice in other counties and before the 
General Court in Annapolis and on the Eastern Shore also placed heavy de- 
mands on his time.^^ 

Perhaps he would not reduce his law practice because it generated essential 
income. During the war years, he had assumed financial responsibility for not 
only his wife and children, but also four of his siblings and two nephews. His 
daughters spoke of the "Vicissitudes" of those years, during which, nevertheless, 
a "distressed 6c strug[g]ling Country claimed & enjoyed his services." With peace, 
Stone invested in more Charles County land, in the development of the upper 
Potomac River, and in a fine Georgian house at Annapolis, to which his imme- 
diate family moved in 1784. Economic depression soon left him feeling finan- 
CMtlly threatened, however. Pressed to cover expenses, he tried to sell off or hire 
out some of his slaves. In effect, they also paid a price for his involvement in 
public affairs.^* 

The principal offices Stone held were not filled by popular vote. Instead, 
under the Maryland Constitution of 1776 the legislature sent delegates to Con- 
gress, while a board of popularly chosen electors named fifteen senators to con- 
current five-year terms. The Senate itself exercised what James Madison called 
"the remarkable prerogative of filling up its own vacancies within the term of its 
appointment." At a time when tegfelatwtes dominsated ststc governments, 
Maryland's unique upper house was the most powerful in the nation. Indirect 
election and lengthy terms distanced it from both the public and the House of 
Delegates. Depending on one's perspectives, this arrangement either institution- 
alized "tlK modemtkMi &(& «^eot Ibw" mti fteed mMiam frem unwffle, traasi- 
tory popular vllims arad ^^re*^ mmmm^, iaipra4e]i#f placed thftm be- 
yond their constituents' control. Other states, in which voters balloted for the 
entire legislature, really had "two co-ordinate houses of representatives," accord- 
ing to an early historian of the Revolution. Stone took no official part in con- 
structing the unusually iMep«HdiHii body in which he served, nor any other 
provisions of the CoH8tal^<m?rf 4776 and accompanying Declaration of Rights. 
His role in founding state government would be to build upon the architectural 
framework set forth in these documents.''^ 

During his years in tbeS«iiate, it held twenty-two scssmms lasting up to four 
months each and approved mm ^ti^ hittiiimd Ms Mibsequen% macted into 
law. Some were crucial in establishing the new government, others vital to sup- 
porting the war that secured Independence. Stone showed keen interest in both 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


The dining and reception room of Haberdeventure. (Library of Congress.) 

kinds of legislation. Individually or in committee, for example, he drafted bills 
to regulate the militia and recruit soldiers for the army, open the courts of jus- 
tice, define the powers of the governor and his executive council, and ascertain 
which resolves of the defunct Provincial Convention should carry the force of 
law. In addition, whether persuasively opposing the claims of Henry Harford, 
Maryland's last proprietor, to compensation for his lost colony, or eloquently 
insisting that only attorneys who took the state's loyalty oath should be allowed 
to practice law, Stone worked to secure and preserve a revolution that he re- 
garded as young and vulnerable. Said a colleague, "he would often take the pen, 
and commit to paper, all the necessary writings of the senate, . . . cheerfully, 
while the other members were amusing themselves with desultory conversa- 
tion." This comment may explain why Stone often asserted the Senate's position 
on important measures and served on joint conference committees that resolved 
differences between the two houses. An extraordinary and unique sequence of 
events in 1780 highlighted his sometimes critical role in the legislative process. 
With the two houses deadlocked over the question of confiscating British prop- 
erty in the state, Stone resigned fi-om the Senate and at once entered the lower 
house, having already been elected from Charles County. After actively partici- 
pating in House proceedings for a week, he resigned, immediately gained reelec- 


Maryland Historical Mc^azine 

tion to the Senate, and then, in a joint conference committee, helped craft the 
confiscation law that resolved a protracted, acrimonious controversy/* 

Beginning v^^ith its inaugural session in 1777, the Senate scrutinized every 
matter sent from the House and dissented to everything deemed objectionable. 
The journals of the two bodies are strewn with accusations and countercharges, 
bristling defenses of their respective positions and prerogatives, and satirical 
jousting reminiscent of the famous Tuesday Club of Annapolis. Close reading of 
their exchanges reveals that the Senate was less prone to rhetorical hyperbole 
and more careful about protecting civil liberties and property rights, even in 
wartime. In such matters Stone typically sided with the majority of his colleagues. 
Hence, in a message that he helped write, the Senate objected to a House bill 
requiring a loyalty oath, on the grounds that some parts seemed "so incautiously 
worded as to take away all freedom of discourse" from "a people jealous of, and 
well acquainted with their rights"; that "no government has a right to dive into 
the secret thoughts of subjects conforming their conduct to the known laws of 
the state"; and that the bill possibly indicated "an intention to shackle the liberty 
of the press, the freedom of which has ever been found the best security for the 
virtuous administration of government."'" 

Intense conflict between the two houses — conflict over such weighty issues 
as how best to support the war, whether paper money should be made legal 
tender in payment of debte, »ii«isstte fefslists' estates should be seized for 
the benefit of tbe state — ^not only o^osed siii>6tsiitive disagreements about pro- 
posed legislation, but also cast into bold relief some of the most important con- 
stitutional questions in Revolutionary America. In self-governing polities, what 
is the nature of representation? Whose interests should individual legislators 
represeiit and pWOTrwJte — ^people in their electoral districts only, or tfefei^lwKit 
the body politic? What, if any, kind of organized popular pressure on a leg^- 
ture is legitimate? If the upper and lower houses disagree, is it proper for one to 
stir up popular passions in an attempt to influence the other? In sum, how may 
the people essercfSe their sofvereignty? Throughottt hfe sei«t*6ri«l c««r Stone 
grappled fMh such questions, until finally lie 9td®d «t the Cfetiter of debate.^ 

The House of Delegates understandably tried to position itself as more rep- 
resentative of the people, better attuned to their interests, and it gratuitously 
reminded senators that their constituents were "the people." Nor did the House 
he^fte Wlfi1|^*Sitit>f ftffifi^lS^Jt^^ Senate endangered 

"the peace and safety of this state" and invited popular disapproval. In one testy 
retort written by Stone and two other senators, the upper house thanked the 
lower "for the attention shewn to our welfare, by your friendly admonition. We 
only wish it had been coirtrtttftltelfifed* #ee 'ftom those insinuations which are 
vainly calculated to wound our reputation." On another oeoiiiMI ^nate 
declared its unwillingness to "sacrifice that liberty of deciding upon pflWic ques- 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


tions, which, as free men and legislators, we have a right to enjoy and exercise." 
Such sacrifice would cause the upper house to "be degraded" from its "respect- 
able station . . . into an useless and miserable appendage of the legislature." De- 
^piMiometimes intense and highly public attempts t&m^i^tlimsMM'§mmt «^ 
erwise, it never relinquished its claim of equally ref*ii«illflt%' llle peifie ami 
promoting the public good.'' 

The most contentious constitutional issue that animated Maryland poli- 
tics — and the one that plaorf Steiae at the forrfttMM; oi pubMc debate — concerned 
yi4id-lier om kmmi^^ h^KkiilmmM' W m Mm ie^kfmA lim-mthar- to its couki 
legitimately arouse the populace in an effort to break the impasse. As early as 
1777, during a stalemate over loyalty oaths, the House ordered copies of its bill 
distributed throughout the state, while rhetoric published in the Maryland Ga- 
zette c<«ls»4ei Ae *%«l^«r«lH»^ic, tM ^h&me &( d«^^es the 
immediate representatives of the people." If the two cannot agree, the people 
(actually, enfranchised males) must "approve the one, and condemn the other." 
Two years later, in the heat of debate over confiscation of British property, the 
House explicitly appealed t5 Ac peiffc af^tartntei ttte Senate: "Our appeal is 
now made to our constituents. We are both bound by what they shall deter- 
mine." Should those constituents side with the lower house, "we flatter ourselves 
your honours will not oppose the voice of your country." This unprecedented 
claim of a popular right, in effect, to legislate derived from a clause in the Decla- 
ration oi ligMs, "fMdi i^a^lliit '*teef^glft fti tife peatpk to pwtkqjate in the 
legislature is the best security of liberty, and the foundation of all free govern- 
ment." The claim, however, ignored the rest of the clause, which secured the 
people's right through frequent elections and enfranchisement of male property 
owners. It also ignored a clause in the Cfetostitution of 1776, under which the 
Senate held "full and perfect liberty to exercise their judgment in passing laws" 
and could not "be compelled by the house of delegates" to pass any bill that 
senators judged "injurious to the public welfare."" Furthermore, impressionis- 
tic images ^ffreeirtai Instructing their representaftfves dbscured crucial details, 
such as who could legitimately initiate the process, whether all enfranchised voters 
would receive notice of popular gatherings, who would set the agenda, and whether 
full, informed consideration of diverse viewpoints would be encouraged. 

The simmering debate exploded across Maryland in 1787, at a time when 
disturbances ranging from a ccrarthottse riot in Charles County to Shays' Rebel- 
lion in Massachusetts raised fears of popular excess as well as apprehension that, 
in the words of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, "our several Gov[ernmen]ts are 
on the eve of dissolution." The precipitating event was the Senate's unanimous 
reftisal to agfee to a bill to emit paper money, Whlth would circulate at par with 
specie. While the lower house asserted that only an infusion of paper could re- 
lieve economic distress in Maryland, a skeptical upper house thought such a 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

course might ruin the state's alreac^ pr#^i©us public credit and, in addition, 
enable speculators (including Samuel Chase in the lower house) to pay their 
debts with grossly devalued currency. Unable to budge the Senate, the House in 
®a*if ^MfiW^iff-iilroptiy announced its intention to'«f«llKP«!itil mid-MwA, 
leaving unfinished such important business as appointing delegates to the Con- 
stitutional Convention at Philadelphia. Immediately, the House also published 
a partisan appeal to the public which began as follows: 

We, your immediate representatives in the general assembly, Aink . . . 
that on all subjects that materially concern your welfare or happiness, 
you are to be consulted; and your opinions, freely and fairly delivered, 
ought to govern our deliberations. We also hold both branches of your 
legislature bound by your instructions, whenever you please to give 
them; on a diversity in sentiment between us and the senate, you alone 
are to decide, and to you only can there be any appeal." 

At that, the Smate ei^«rif jiMiied m Wtfk, comimed that "no part of our 
conduct can . . . justly subject us to the suspicion of having an interest separate 
from that of the people," the majority of whom would oppose the paper money 
bill if their views "could he fairly collected" (emphasis mine). In an address writ- 
ten by five saiaters m<M&ag Tk&mm ^cme, the Senrte pointedly accused the 
House of Delegates of tending "to weaken the powers of governm-ent, and to 
disseminate divisions and discord among the citizens of this state, at a crisis, 
when the energy of the one, and the union of the other, are more than ever 
necessary," Branding unilateral appeals to the public unprecedented — and nowhere 
legitimated by the framers of the state constitution — ^the Senate argued that 

Every man of reflection will readily perceive, if this practice should 
prevail, that the public business will no longer be conducted by a se- 
lect k^^ure, cons^isting fS[ imo ^tltiK^es, equally free and indepen- 
dent, calmly deliberatisng as^ determining on the propriety of public 
measures, but that the state will be convulsed upon every difference of 
opinion between those branches, respecting any question which ei- 
tiier may think inqjort^nt. 

Moreover, said the senators, nothing less than survival of the upper house as 
defined in the constitution was at stake. With many more members, the lower 
house enjoyed "greater opportunities of influencing the people, whose sense is 
to be collected." Called out into "large collected bodies" in which "even the most 
moderate are liable to be inflamed by declamation," given only a short time to 
consider complex matters, the public might easily succumb to the passions of 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


the moment and be "hurried into measures inconsistent with their real welfare." 

In consequence therefore of such appeals to the people, the senate #B 
be deprived of that freedom of debate and decision, which the consti- 
tution meant to secure to that branch, and every benefit which might 
result to the state from that freedom, will be precluded. In such a situ- 
ation, the prnms^l^keni^Me would be amMii^, Miti although its 
name and semblance might remain, its resl utility would cease. 

In danger of annihilation, too, were minority rights. Foreshadowing James 
Madison's discussions of the tyranny of the majority, senators warned that if 
"the sense of a majority, however coiected, is in all cases to g©«?«rnvthen there are no 
rights in this state which are secured against the opinion of such a majority."^^ 

Hours after the Senate dispatched this lengthy address to the House on Janu- 
ary 20, the legislature adjourned for three months. But first, without appealing 
directly t® the peopfeydne^pper house ensured a public airing of its views by 
orderiragoaetfe^MiB^^Wfits of its message to bepSffl^ediThe next day, accord- 
ing to an account written and published by Stone, senators still in Annapolis 
met at Mann's Tavern to consider how best to distribute the document, as well as 
"if any thing else was necessary to be done by the senators, as individuals, before 
they ptt*Bd" (eiBpfeas* mine). Tb«jr fciiew iimt^ffou^ members were busy cir- 
culating, for freemen's signatures, printed forms telling the legislature to pass 
the paper money bill; the forms falsely alleged that the entire legislature invited 
the people's decision. In response, the unofficial meeting of senators approved a 
"pmf<m/tvm" to be distributed with? i#ie«<Mfi^ to the House. Its wotding i»d 
not explicitly instnuet an^sesie; signers would simply affirm support fo*-#ie ex- 
isting form of government and opine that "each branch of the legislature ought 
to be free, and at full liberty to exercise their judgment, upon all public measures 
proposed by the one to the other." Stmm wfote the proposition.^^ 

In the eiMuing public <MM*e,,«uipp®iJtes of the House returned to first prin- 
ciples: "All lawful authority originates from the people, and their power is like 
the light of the sun, native, original, inherent and unlimited by human author- 
ity." The right of the people "to judge must . . . perpetually exist, and may be 
exercised on all occasions." Senate w&ppbrteTS invoked provisions of the Mary- 
land Constitution which (ield^ed legislative authority, and some also argued 
that extraordinary circumstances alone justified popular intervention in a le- 
gitimate government: The "practice of appeal by either branch will be produc- 
txm of consideraHe misdiief, and wiJt in fJie «fed destroy the coBMiWttion itsetf." 
"Until some fatal period shall arrive, when the ends of government shall be per- 
verted, and liberty manifestly endangered, the pig®pk Gannot constitutionally 
interfere with the deliberations of the senate."^ 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

In private correspondence Stone vented his chagrin at the "great & perhaps 
dangerous divisions in this State" being created, he told George Washington, by 
the appeal to the public over the paper money bill. "The cool temperate & be- 
nevolent are seldom active upon internal differences in an)iQMIMifs^7#l»ie who 
have more of the acid & fire generally take the lead, and are not unfrequently on 
the wrong side," he told his younger brother Michael Jenifer Stone. Believing 
that "a Majority of the people are not in favor of the Meamms<^^ Majority of 
the Delegates^'*^ iumMiife eless fear@A AMJj^ries^Ments of paper money would 
exercise "much more industry" to create the appearance of a popular mandate." 

Stone thought it a gross distortion to frame the issue as a contest between 
the upper house and the people. If individual senators or the whole house "set 
themselves in '&^f>mMon to the grMtfe^iif^t^-ffiei^jk of this state, I should 
think ttiiot. rather objects proper to be confine<i>i»msanity thasn difeaded as 
tyrants," he scoffed. Hence his dismay when he was accused, in the pages of the 
Maryland Journal, of deceptively wording the proposition he had written at 
Mann's Tmem, f® #iat signatories flillawswingly endorsed a legislature "inde- 
pendent of the people." Unlike some of his contemporaries — Chase and Paca 
come to mind — Stone rarely rushed into print to debate his political adversar- 
ies. He wrote for public consumption only when feeling maligned and impelled 
to defend himself. Faced with the insinuation that he would dishonestly entice 
freemen to disclaim one of the most basic principles of the Revolwtiojt—popu- 
lar sovereignty — he took up the pen to deny "that I ever (i^pitdly tiij«ired, or 
attempted to deceive, the people of this state."^* 

The proposition he drafted, Stone explained, was meant "not to affect the 
rights'^hnt "to eJottect €ie stti»fe @f the people." Mw«Wtfee m@ bmsu %t Mt art 
liberty to exercise their judgements [sic] on measures pr@^@»@i by ^e one to 
the other"? Or did constituents want to "introduce the practice of appeals, to 
oblige the dissenting branch, to accede to the measures proposed by the appeal- 
ing branch"? A positive response to the proposition v^KieM itSMd "as a J^ecfion 
from the people to4iK^fy^fy0%^mit'*mMm»m^-tl£»fm^^ ^wppmling." 
A negative response would necessitate development of fair, standard procedures 
for taking the public pulse. Furthermore, to avoid "the odium" of acting con- 
trary to the public will, legislators henceforth surely would collect constituents' 
verdicts before deciding on "doubflfef "feiis. AMiough Stone thus accepted a 
piflp^lar right to adjudge the innovative practice the House was trying to insti- 
tutionalize, he declined to state his views on whether voters, acting collectively, 
could rightfully enter the law-making process and instruct their representatives 
to pass specific bills. He nevertheless reminded Marylanders that the House of 
TMi^^iks^lltstWpfmf&iitiiti^^ Uppmled to thepeople. "They 

did not want instructions to regulate rteir conduct [;] the only sensible end to be 
answered, by obtaining instructions in favour of the measure, was to oblige the 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


senate" to accept a bill it had already unanimously rejected. Stone's resistance in 
1787 to outside interference and to hastily destroying established constitutional 
arrangements, and his insistence on obtaining the fair and uninfluenced "sens* 
of the people," echo the younger man, the Continental congressman of 1776.® 

The struggle between the two branches of the Maryland Assembly threw 
into particularly stark relief the process underway in the new nation, a process 
of attaching the enormously powerful abstractions of Revolutionary rhetoric — 
liberty, rights, mm^l§imp^nbe people--'>i^ ^mK l ^m d^mUt0§ewrmnehts, whik 
at the same time articulating what those abstractions entailed and how they 
were to be exercised. Heavily freighting this process was widespread anxiety that 
the drafters of state constitutions — having abandoned the traditional checks and 
balances embedded in the Britkh Sfstem of monarchy, aristocracy* and com- 
mons—had created polities far too vulnerable to popular pfssteysr*. Tkk con- 
cern, combined with a veritable litany of enforced court closings, rioting, and 
even rebellion, convinced many observers that unless new mechanisms could be 
fmmd m f«fia<i# tiie c^lliErvnd balanc«s^<tfif ftliMi system, thM 
might end in dtoe«; ''Liberty," warned Jani^Miidte«,'^maf%e««iteegered by 
the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power."*** 

Before 1787 the search for "stable & firm Gov[ernmen]t organized in the 
republican form" occurred not at the national level but in the states. The intense 
struggle that Stone and his colleagues waged with the House of Delegates fi^- 
ufei iB9f»^ittttlf w conceptualizing how a sovereign people, who alone could 
create a government, according to Revolutionary ideology, nevertheless lived 
under it. In the end, the lower house failed to establish a continuous, collective 
popular right to mandate kw. Rights already constitutionally sectired, especially 
petitioning and frequent t^dkms, ^t^sa^ cmn^timmiSs' relatiofflesilif »^h>thidr 
representatives. At the same time, the Senate — ^by insisting upon its right under 
the state constitution to deliberate without interference from the lower house — 
offered a singular example of how one sector of a republican government could 
check another. In the estimation of Dr. David Ramsay — South Carolina legisla- 
tor. Continental congressman, and hi^orian of the Revolution — 

the senate of Maryland consisted of men of influence, integrity and 
abilities and such as were a real and beneficial check on the hasty pro- 
ceedings of a mofe numerous branch of popular representatives. The 
laws of that state were well digested, and its interest steadily pursued 
with a peculiar unity of system; while elsewhere it too often happened 
in the fluctuation of public assemblies, and where the legislawe ifk- 
partment was not sufficiently checked, that passion and party predouri- 
nated over principle and public good.*' 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

When it came time to frame a new national government, soon after the con- 
troversy subsided in Maryland, its fifteen-member Senate provided the nation's 
only operational model for what became the upper house of Congress. Madison 
argu€d that "the people can never wilfiilly betray tlmr gmm frildfertii^fe^ Aey 
may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people"; since Indepen- 
dence, all of the upper houses — except Maryland's — were "found to be no check 
whatever ag[ain]st the instabilities of the other branches." In Edmund Randolph's 
words, "Democri^i€'4ie«^itimMNM'«i<iA[e #1^^ reigned, and even 

the Maryland Senate "had been scarcely able to stem the popular torrent." In 
their opposition to the House of Delegates, said Madison, the senators "had 
with them the suffrages of the most enlightened and impartial people of other 
States as wcH as their mnm? Proponent ol ti^OitiMtitilltM Ao ifx^otied the 
record of this one state to refiite theoretical arguments that a federal senate, if 
elected indirectly for long terms, would abuse power and possibly drive the coun- 
try into tyranny. On the contrary, "the Maryland constitution is daily deriving, 
from the salutary operation of this part of it [the Senate] , a reputation in which 
it will probably not be rivaled fey tliBt'ef iHif tetein-the Union."" 

Had Thomas Stone attended the Philadelphia Convention, he surely would 
have advocated a United States Senate modeled on the one whose constitutional 
underpinnings he had vigorously defended. Without question, he also would 
have supported a more povrerfiil national govcfnment than «dsted tinder the 
Articles of Confederation. Shortly before the convention opened, however, he 
declined appointment, probaMy hmim^-oi the ill health to which he and his 
wife soon succumbed.*' 

From Provincial to Nation^ist 

Stone's views on the nation and what kind of central government it required 
stemmed from a variety of experiences: his careers in Congress and Maryland 
politics, associations with men concerned about the fate of the Union, hopes for 
the economic development of the Potomac River valley, and involvement in ne- 
gotiations withV^ifginia over jurisdiction of ^e river (and therefbre commerce 
on it). In 1776 the young congressman worked to protect his state's autonomy 
from outside interference, not least by serving on the committee that crafted a 
central government so weak that it lacked authority to pass laws, tax, or imple- 
ment its resolutions. By the mid- 1780s, however, the seasoned politician had 
concluded that a dangerously impotent Confederation must be strengthened. In 
his passage from provincial to nationalist, St(»e followed the smnt transit as 
countless other members of the Revolutionary generation. 

After signing the Declaration of Independence, he continued attending Con- 
gress until the late fell of 1776. Delegates at that time were often preoccupied 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


with the dire military situation in New York following a massive British inva- 
sion, and Stone imrrsersed hmmtM m mppm^siig the war. B<^des saving on 
committees that dealt with augmenting and supplying Washington's army, es- 
tablishing an adequate hospital department, and investigating military reverses 
in Canada, he transmitted intelligence to Annapolis and urged state officials 
that "it is of the dwsequence to Gd.lect »#tiildiM lbiflce to -oppose the Brit- 
ish Army." As ^iMsiffiids of MiifiaMiiiAsiM^-|HMei ttwetigk' Mtiladelphia on 
their way north that summer, he scoured the city for smallpox-free quarters, 
medical supplies, and even a gun carriage. For the defense of Maryland he ac- 
quired fifty muskets, stored and packed them at his lodgings, and sent them to 
Annapolis with fifty barrels ®f griispewder." 

Durir^ ^mse ^une-months congressmen tried to design a charter of na- 
tional government acceptable to the newly sovereign states. No record survives 
of the positions Stone took in the committee that reported on the Articles of 
Confederation in mid- July. Hdnsev^^^iiis *i^ teif©wi pevislsion against outside 
inietference in Maryland's internii irflws, together with poi^s lie made in floor 
debate, establish his advocacy of a union of autonomous states. Hence he op- 
posed granting Congress "superintendency" over Indian affairs. More stridently, 
he contested the claims of Virginia and several other states to a huge slice of the 
North American continent: ncrt ©srifF did military support from all states defend 
lands beyond white settlement, but "the small [states] have a Right to Happiness 
and Security" and "would have no Safety if the great [states] were not limited." 
Here Stone raised the key issue of western lands, which stalled implementation 
of the Articles until 1 78 1 . Only timu Wteen ^i^iiiia relinquished its trans- Appa- 
lachian claims except for Kentucky, did Maryland become the last state to ratify 
the Articles." 

After 1 776 Stone did not again devote intense effort to the work of Congress 
until 1784, and then only after its perambulations carried it to Annapolis. With 
his reputation for being intelligent and knowledgeable — as well as "honest & 
disinterested" in Thomas Jefferson's estimation, "a very upright sensible man" in 
James Monroe's — Stone quickly received appointment to many committees and 
often penned their reports. Never was he more engaged with the array of issues 
and problems confronting the nation. And wfe«i)«r considering domestic or 
fot^n affairs, he was thinking contin^ftalfy: by.favoring commercial treaties 
that treated the United States "as one nation," passports devoid of fawning salu- 
tations to foreign princes, an ordinance that required republican governments 
beyond the Appalachian Mountains, state quotas of troops to protect the na- 
tional domain, and congresskmaHy supervised adjudication of interstate disputes.** 

This is not to say that he ignored state interests. A committee report he wrote 
explicitly declined to acknowledge, on behalf of Congress, the applicability of 
the law of nations to individual states. He stood with the majority of southern 



Maryland Historical Magazine 

congressmen in voting against abolition of slavery in the western territories. 
And one sensesWi dl?W3*!!f#ttire as he justified why members of a committee to 
which he belonged had issued a warrant for the arrest, in Maryland, of an al- 
leged leader of mutiny in the Pennsylvania Line, a mutiny that had sent Con- 
gress packing out of Philadelphia. He did not, indeed could not, appeal to any 
p&l$eg'%f Congress. Instead, Stone rather self-consciously explaiii^ th«t, "be- 
cause si$m^il^iMBim41lMmmmmmMyle to aj^rehend 4b@ ft^ti^, ^ihe Mn- 
ciple upon which the Warrant was issued was that in cases where Crimes of high 
and dangerous Nature had been committed ... it was not only lawfull but the 
duty of every Citizen and body of Men independent of all possitive [sic] Au- 
thority to take the most effectual Meastir^'"fet if^esting the perpetrates* and 
bringing them before tiws <^nstitutional Judiciary power for examination and 
Trial." (In this case the accused mutineer and the evidence against him were 
turned over to the General Court.) Absent such citizen arrests. Stone argued, 
Congress, with no police pmfmalm &0m,'^'m^^ atwiy time be b^^m up or 
dt^dye^Mbrean adequate remedy c@i#d W^Kp^edf -M^ Ik tri^ t@ wA a 
fine line between respecting state authority and contraveni^ it t® protect the 
very existence of the Confederation government.*^ 

Stone never again sat in Congress after it returned north in late 1784, but his 
service that year emr^mi Mm, iMKsti^ied his nationalistic thinking and con- 
cern for the fate of the country, and infused his writings with new confidence 
and authority. To James Monroe, whom he knew from Congress and trusted, he 
volunteered, "I am anxious to do every thing necessary to give Weight & energy 
to thefesteal Q®W«in^*i« |iite«|-#Wlt«l4fta- completing his term, Stone 
spelkd out his thinliHg <3iii i"4s»t AeC'^iigte^ needed (po'«^6r) and what 
threatened it most (myopic states, jealous of one another). It troubled him that 
unnamed "leading Men in America" were trying to "wrest from the foederal gov- 
ernment a power essential to the Safety of the Union," that is, the authority to 
raise troops, without wMeb^-GeWiMiment can be neither protected or supported." 
He hoped that the states would abandon commercial rivalry aiid wst Congress 
with authority to regulate foreign and interstate trade, for "I now am of opinion 
that the inconveniences flowing from the want of such power in Congress over- 
balance the danger to be apprehended from the Ause ctf it, and the sooner the 
power is conferred and partial impolitic State Regulations tbercfcy d€feated[,] 
the better it will be for the whole." These and other examples of fractious local- 
ism kept the central government "weak & unsettled." More than that — and here 
he revealed his deepest fear — "this Country from the want of Power in the Com- 
mon Stead & Jetelto^iy of the SeTfe«#fiirts of the Unrew is e^emely liable to that 
greatest of all Curses which can befall Mankind," civil war. Should it break out in 
America (something he thought distinctly possible), "once begun no bounds 
can be set to it."*' 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


Portrait ofThomas Stone by Robert Edge Pine (1730-88), an Englishman who arrived in America in 
1783. (Baltimore Museum of Art.) 

Certain that both the source and remedy of the nation's ills resided in the 
states, Stone concentrated his efforts on the Maryland legislature. Its members 
he pronounced "well disposed to do every thing necessary to give dignity &: 
Energy to the Continental Government," but their attention first had to be di- 
verted "from the State Object to this which in my Opinion is much more impor- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

tant." Refocusing was not easily accomplished amidst the paper money contro- 
versy and other issues agitating state politics, but in due course the assembly 
assented to empowering Congress to regulate trade and raise independent revenue 
with a 5 percent tax on imports. Stone vigorously advocated both measures.*' 

He also devoted many hours to one of the most enticing prospects in the 
Chesapeake region and, indeed, the entire nation: creating a magnificent water- 
course into the heart of the trans-Appalachian West by making the Potomac 
River navigable from the fall line at Georgetown to its source near the headwa- 
ters of the Ohio River system, a distance of about 175 miles. Like George Wash- 
ington, the plan's chief architect and publicist. Stone considered the transmontane 
West "an Object of great importance." Hirning the upper reaches of the river 
into a busy highway for people and goods would "promote the wellfare of these 
States" and forge "a strong chain of connection" between the Atlantic coast and 
the interior into which, already, thousands of Americans were migrating. This 
vision could not be realized, however, unless jurisdiction of the river, a point at 
issue between Maryland and Virginia, was settled and, secondly, the most ambi- 
tious internal improvement project in the young republic succeeded.^" 

Jurisdiction was a problem because the southern boundary of Maryland, as 
defined in its colonial charter, extended to the Potomac's south shore, but the 
Virginia Constitution of 1776 claimed a right to "free navigation and use" of the 
river. In 1777 the two state legislatures appointed commissioners, including Stone, 
who tried but failed to achieve an understanding acceptable to both states. Once 
the Peace of Paris of 1 783 recognized the trans-Appalachian West as United States 
territory and the pace of westward migration swelled, the issue assumed greater 
urgency. Pressure mounted fiirther in November 1784, when interested parties 
meeting at Alexandria asked the two legislatures to charter a company that would 
clear the Potomac of obstructions and operate the waterway. Then, at the behest 
of the Virginia assembly, Washington and Horatio Gates traveled to Annapolis 
the following month, where they conferred with members of the Maryland as- 
sembly. Stone among them. Their report recommended that the legislatures char- 
ter the Potomac Company and contribute some of the fiinds needed to improve 
the river and build a road between it and the headwaters of the Ohio system. 
This project, the report confidently promisecl, woi3d*greatiy promote the po- 
litical interests of the United States, by forming a free and easy commtinication 
with the people settled on the western waters." When the assembly instantly ap- 
proved, Washington informed James Madison that "this State seem[s] highly 
impressed with the importance of the objects w[hi]ch we have had under con- 
sideration, and are very desirous of seeing them accomplished." The Virginia 
assembly promptly enacted the same legislation.^* 

Chartering the Potomac Company meant that the jurisdiction issue could 
no longer be ignored. In early January 1785, therefore, the Maryland assembly 



In Search of Thomas Stone 


elected Stone, Samuel Chase, Thomas Johnson, and Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer 
tanked; with Virgfaia <^«nmtssiotiers. Stone was contfident. In trsKiSmitting the 
news to Washington he wrote, "I have no doubt but the Subjects of our Mission 
will be set [t] led to mutual satisfaction." A few days before setting out for the 
Mount Vernon Conference in March, he confided to Monroe, "this business ought 
to be fixed now that We are upon good terms when it k !^f(8% And so it 

was. More than thtt, the Virgiiii» ii t| ii ti i itW ' < ii'i »eiC ^NM!i pr^ a meeting of 
representatives from all the states, to consider uniform commercial regulations — 
and thereby set in motion the sequence of events that led to the Annapolis Con- 
vention of 1786 and the Constitutional Convention of 1787. (The Maryland 
Senate blocked appointment of delegates to the convention at Annapolis on the 
grounds that Congress shoi^d exercise the power to regulate trade.)''^ 

If 1784 and 1785 were years of intensifying, nationally oriented hope and 
effort for Stone, during 1786 he sank into despair. In the wake of Shays's Rebel- 
lion and what Madison termed "a spirit ®f immteei^m'' Amm^lmm tiie coun- 
try, in &e kirawk^e tkit aMempts to slr^i^h^Cof^ess hmditihd for kdc of 
concurrence from all thirteen states, and in the throes of the House of Delegates 
appeal to the populace over paper money — against all this Stone succumbed to 
agonized grief reminiscent of what he had felt in the spring of 1776. His worries 
tumbled from pen to page in a letter addressed to his brother Michael: 

I cannot shake of[f] the Pain which a View of our situation brings 
upon my Mind. Devoted to this Country and its Wellfare, I cannot rest 
while clouds appear to be ^ih$tmg v^th liif@at»i4istruction to all 
that is valuable in it and [threaten] to level our Reputation and Glory 
to the Ground. Would to heaven my power was equal to my will[,] this 
should never happen. Divided and distracted from north to south, We 
afford a melancholy proof tiaat Men even when left to themselves want 
the Wisdom Virtue & Temperance which is necessary to make them 

In the last sentence he jrt>and6ft©d, at least for the moment, a trust in the 
fundamrtital goodness and wisdom of the citizenry, which had sustained him at 
least since the tumultuous decision for Independence. That trust rested on his 
faith that "all men can distinguish clearly between Right and Wrong when not 
under the immediate influence of some seducing Passion," that "most Men have 
Sense encmfh m distittgirish the prepm Cemse m almost ai^ Situation if they 
would give themselves time to Reflect," and that disinterested citizens, "having 
no motive to do wrong, and being bound to do right," would not likely err. In 
the spring of 1787, faith gave way to disillusionment." 

In what wcmld be hk fkial piAic ktter, ptibiished the inonth before the 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Constitutional Convention opened, Stone projected not the anguished energy 
that marks his pre-Independence correspondence but the weariness of a man 
nearing the end of his career and questioning whether the results justified the 
effort. Feeling "bound to live in, and anxious for the prosperity of, a country 
where those who ought to unite, are endeavouring to wound and destroy each 
other," and characterizing the office of senator as "much too arduous and weighty 
for my abilities ... a fearAeft^^fWHrt^wf iMf iftf he longed to retire. Deny- 
ing — incredulously — ^that he possessed power and influence, he virtually sighed, 
"I am not so vain to suppose that I can render services to the public in any 
degree equal to the sacrifice of quiet, health and interest, which necessarily at- 

By iike time he p«mmi'^K^-mmi^^iiek^d&Mi^ «kctj«E»ti to tbe Phikdel- 
phia Convention. Even if he had known that its members would abandon any 
pretense of shoring up the Articles of Confederation and, instead, draft an en- 
tirely new and much stronger framework of national government, Stone almost 
certainly would not have attended. fMtinful and prolonged illness, his wife 
Margaret died in June 1787. Before he, too, died on October 5, he may have seen 
the text of the Constitution, which appeared in a Maryland newspaper at the 
end of September. If he did, no record of his reaction survives. Although yet 
another myth cMS'Stme m mmiM^mdi^ surely it is Vfmng. His many dis- 
satisfactions with the structure fancti^ir^ of the national and state gov- 
ernments, his deep fears for survival of the Revolution, and Marylanders' over- 
whelming support for the Constitution add up to compelling evidence that, had 
Stone lived, he would have endorsed the new federal system. One can imagine 
him dcHMg so with the same words he used upon learnitig that the war was over 
and Great Britain had recognized American IndepeMdeiKe: "our Country will 
be happy henceforth if properly governed."" 


1. Thomas Stone to Frederick Stxme [early Octobo- 1787], in John Sanderson et al., eds., 

Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, 9 vols. (Philadelphia: R. W. 
Pomeroy, 1823-27), 9:332; Robert Fergusson to George Gray, October 12, 1787, Letter Book, 
I^7-8i, ^tTobftCco, iM., 'm Glassford a^ CiEmpany Pi^rs, ccmtaincr 62, fol. 

122, Manuscript Division, Library of C^IS^e*^ Wfi^Mit f&nmal, and Akxandria Advertiser, 
October 11, 1787. 

2. Sto««'s |Mri)lk offices arc li^d in Edward C. ftip«nfit«e'«t al., cds.j A Bwgmpkical Dictio- 
nary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, 2 vols. (Baltimore: lohns Hopkins University 
Press, 1979, 1985), 2:786-88 (hereinafter Biographical Dictionary). The obituary appeared 
in both the Virginia Journal, and Alexandria Advertiser, October 1 1, 1787, and the Maryland 
Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, October 16, 1787. A brief notice of Stone's death was pub- 
lished in the Columbian Magazine, or Monthly Miscellany, 1 (October 1787): 734. 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


3. Biographical Dictionary, 1:199, 216, 2:635; Robert T. Conrad, ed., Biography of the Signers 
f»1fmBBei»m^n offttdepm^t«ei fev.'ed. (tliladel^a: Thmm 0©wp«tkw(it and Co., 
1846), xxi. For vital statistics of the signers, see David CA'^itney etal., Founders of Freedom 
in America: Lives of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence (Chicago: J. G. 
Ferguson, 1964^/il*-t*.- ' '•' 

4. Niks' Weekly Register, 15 (December 19, 1818): 291; Thomas Jefferson quotation in Drew 
R. McCoy, The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy (New York: 
Cambri^e Unr?«^^i^«is, 

5. Sanderson et al., eds., Biography of the Signers, quotation from 7:[vii]; Dumas Malone, 
ed., Dictionary of American Biography, 20 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927- 
36), 16:337-38. Joseplt M. i«Rfiie«0»*^ill^ two volumes with the United States 
government and, in them, is identified as "proprietor" of the enterprise. Jotei ^Hideraoin's 
name appears on the title pages of volumes 1-5. 

6. Sanderson et al., eds., Bie^^fiS^>0'^e^Sil^»m, 9:151-69, 329-33; qaotatfcm on p. 154. 

7. Irma B. Jaffe, John Trumbull: Pa^WwMkr*** 'of the American Revolution (Boston: Little, 
Brown and Co., for the New York GmuMteM&tty, 1975), 318-19, 322. 

B. Stone to [faMiesfi0»fdB^},liK^i»,-f7^, in Letters o/j^^ 1774-1789, 
ed. Paul H. Smith et al., 23 vols, to date (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976- ), 
4:51-52 (hereinafter Letters of Delegates); Maryland Gazette, April 5, 1787, and the Mary- 
land Jmmirimtd Bakinwi^Advmmt^ Np«M>€,i^7 i^ieprk^m§i^^ 
sentative Government and the Revolution: The Maryland Constitutional Crisis of 1787 (Balti- 
more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), 80-86. For indications of Stone's political 
reputation, sec Jbhics M^smj *»-D«Hid'^St. f%0iH«fe Jeni^, March 1 1 and J^y 4, 1785, 
and James Monroe to James Madison, September 12, 1786, in Letters of Delegates, 22:268, 
496, 23:554. On his eminence as a lawyer, see Charles Carroll of CarroUton to Charles Carroll, 
Sr., May 17, 177«, k Letters «f &^)gmesi #ie91,>a»diN*wllidBwtto Horatio Sharpe, August 
18, 1784,Ridout Collection (SC 371), Maryland State Archives, Hall of Records, Annapolis. 

9. Maryland Gazette, September 26, 1793; Justin Winsor, ed., Narrative and Critical History 
of America, 8 vols. (NewYoi|feMoi*^iton*^<!Ki!it8*4^"^)j8r4^^^ 

Papers of Thomas Stone (1743-87)," typescript available at the Southern Maryland Studies 
Center, Charles County Community College, La Plata, Md., and the Thomas Stone National 
HfetOTic Sitei La l%ate, Md. Stone materials destroyed at Richmond were among the papers 
of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer. 

10. Lee, "Calendar of Papers of Thomas Stone"; Charles F. Jenkins, The Completed Sets of 
tkeSigtmsoftheDeekr^kmefimkpeii^mee, IMS, iirfed. (|Pl^d«^ia?]:n./p., 1925), 2. 
Descriptions of the most important collections related to Stone are in Avril J. M. Pedley, 
comp., The Manuscript Collections of the Maryland Historical Society (Baltimore: Maryland 
Histerktil Society, 19M), 277, and jdkm R^^Mi^ ^ ft}., eo^ps., Mammcr^ %imes in the 
Library of Congress for Research on the American Revolution (Washington, D.C.: Library of 
Congress, 1975), 173. Correspondence with state officials is listed in Edward C. Papenfuse et 
al., comps., An Invmtory ^Miaf^i^emi -Sme ft^ers, ml, 1; The Era of the American Revolu- 
tion, 1775-1789 (Annapolis: Hall of Records Commission, 1977). 

1 1 . Sanderson et al., eds.. Biography of the Signers, 9:329-33. A sampling of works that re- 
peat the li2?acfe®«M is^Slftite A. Mm of the Sigt^s efthe DebbtmHm of htde- 
pendence (New York: William Reed and Co., 1829), 351-57; J. Thomas Scharf, History of 
Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day, 3 vols. (Baltimore, 1 879; rep rint, Hatboro, 
Pa.: iMli^mfies^ im7f,^^^^fiMmmMMayden, Virginia Getmt^^i^li^Bs-iBterrt, 
Pa.,E.B.Yordy, 1891; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979), 175-76; Malone, 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

ed., Dictionary of American Biography, 18:84-85; Margaret Brown Klapthor and Paul D. 
Brown, The H^ory^ CSmrk^Comrty, Maryland '^Mm^, Md.; Chariw^dxiSflfty Tercente- 
nary, 1958), 77-79; and Whitney, Founders of Freedom in America, 214-15. 

12. Sanderson et al., eds.. Biography of the Signers, 9:329-3 1. 

13. Ibid., 9:330-33, including extracts of T. Stone to Ifeffctet Stone, April 28, 1775, and to 

Frederick Stone [early October 1787]. 

14. Subsequent editions considered Stone's political career. See John Sanderson, Biography 
of the Signers to the De^mtion oflndependence, 2nd ed, 5 vols. (Philadelphwt^^iiiiH ^wvn 
and Charles Peters, 1828), 4: 129-50, and Conrad, ed., Biography of the Signers ( 1846), 6 12- 
20, which was reissued during the centennial of Independence as Sanderson's Biography of 
theSi^i*m40 ikeBeekmUim f^ lwefej U iiwi i M i ia ^hiladelphiardiwIes Di^wer and S@rs^ 1876). 
For the Stone and Brown lineages, see Biographical Dictionary, 2:783-84, 786-89; Harry W. 
Newman, The Stones of Poynton Manor (Washington, D.C.: published by the author, 1937); 
and J. M; Tmiei, "A Skddi of^iiis of @m«#lMiM#licM»d Bf€)WR of P9>rt TefeBEc®, Mary- 
land," Sons of the Revolution in the State of Virginia Quarterly Magazine, 2 (1923): 12-15. 
Pursuant to the will of Margaret Stone's father. Dr. Gustavus Brown, her dowry amounted 
to £300 sterling'^his iftterest from the<feilt^his death (1762),as well«s4wo^aves. Charles 
County Wills (C681),Lib.AD5,fols. 219-34, Maryland State Archives. Sanderson either was 
mistaken about the sum or estimated the dowry's worth as of a later date. Regarding the 
estate of David Stone (Thomas's father), the Sanderson informant claiitt€d ii«t « dussiieal 
education was Thomas's only inheritance because his father's plantation, Poynton Manor, 
descended to another heir. However, David Stone also left an unusually large personal es- 
tate, iiid8*l^fifty!>three slaves, which his widow and all surviving children shared. ¥'m&l 
account of the estate of David Stone, 1778, Charles County Wills, Lib. AF7, fols. 169-70; see 
also memorandum of John Hoskins Stone and Thomas Stone, July 15, 1778, Edward C. 
Stone Collection of Autographs of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Boston 
University, Boston, Mass. The quotation about Stone's political principles is in Sanderson et 
al., eds.. Biography of the Signers, 9: 154-55. 

15. fesightful discussions of historical memory are David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign 
Country (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), and Eric Hobsbawm and Terence 
Ranger, eds.. The Invention of Tradition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 

Michael Kammen has written extensively on the construction of the memory of the 
Revolution in A Season of Youth: The American Revolution and the Historical Imagination 
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978) and Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of 
Tradition in American Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991). For Betsy Ross, see pp. 
192n and 501 of Mystic Chords; for Weems, see Lewis Leary, The Book-Peddling Parson: An 
Account of the Life and Works of Mason Locke Weems, Patriot, Pitchman, Author and Purveyor 
of Morality to the Citizenry of the Early United States of America (Chapel Hill,N.C.: Algonquin 
Books, 1984). The "mystic chords of memory" phrase is from Lincoln's first inaugural address. 

16. Charles A. Goodrich, it'ves of the Signers of the Declaration oflndependence; with a Sketch 
of the Life ofWashmgton (Hartford, Conn.: H. E. Rdtoiis«iid Co., 1848), preface; Conrad, 
ed.. Biography of the Signers, xx. 

17. Stone to Jenifer, April 24, 1776, and to [HoUyday?], May 20, 1776, and John Adams to 
James Vfers»i^ May 15, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 3:580-81, 4:46-53, 3:676, respectively; 
Worthington C. Ford, ed.. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, 34 vols. (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1904—37), 4:342, 358. The recommendation 
abotftlbmimi! wSeqvwte governiiseiMi^itssed May 10; a preamble calling for the stifprCssion 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


of all authority under the British Crown was attached on May 15. 

18. Stone to [Hollyday?], M«f 20, W#, fjtWefs'qf ©rf^iafes, 4:47-49. Carter Braxton of 
Virginia thought that only six colonies voted for the inflammatory preamble, whereas James 
Allen of Philadelphia set the number at seven. Braxton to Landon Carter, May 17, 1776, 
it4#,4#^ *'i^i(y^1tees Allen, Esq., of Philadelphia, CotmseBor-at-LaW, 1770-1778," 
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 9 (1885): 187. 

19. Sanderson, Biography of the Signers, 2nd ed., 4:133-34, 138-39. 

20. Gemiii'd^.^M^lf^^the Signers, 615; Nathaniel Dvmight, The Lives of the Signers of 
the Declaration of Independence (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1840), 259; L. Carroll 
Judson, A Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (Philadelphia: J. Dob- 
sfflfr «nd "flttHflte €#wpertfcJ*6t'«ii^ #SI|, ?f ^4f|tmes t5. W8se« ittd T^hn Fiske, 
edLS.,Appleton's Cyclopaedia '<^^^mM0iM Biography, 10 vols. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 
1887-1900), 5:704; The De^km^ ^independence, with Biographical Sketches of the Sign- 
ers (New York: Hibson Brothers, 1876), n. p.; One Hundred Years of a Nation's Life; Or, The 
Patriots and Statesmen of the United States. Containing the Lives of the Signers of the Declam- 
tion of Independence . . . (New York: John W. Lovell Co. [1876?]), 102. 

21. M&lotie,ed., Dictionary <rf.^n&iiS0lnBi0grt^y, 18:84. 

22. John Bakeless and Katherine Bakeless, Signers of the Declaration (Boston: Houghton 
Mifflin, 1969), 241; Donald E. Cooke, Our Nation's Great Heritage: The Story of the Declara- 
tion ofMtkpttrim&s^mi rte C^tsl^f^m^^^t^^^KVfmd, If .J.: Httfflawcfnd, wh), 62, 89; C. 
Edward Quinn, The Signers of the Declaration of Independence (Bronx, N.Y.: Bronx County 
Historical Society, 1988), 76-77; J. H. Cromwell, The Maryland Men Who Signed the Decla- 
ration of Independence (Annapolis: Maryland Bicentennial Commission, 1977), inside front 

23. Russell R. Menard, "British Migration to the Chesapeake Colonies in the Seventeenth 
Century," in Lois Green Carr et al., eis., (MottM C3me^<se^ Soctei^'tChspel Hill: University 
of North Carolina Press, for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1988), 
122-31; Biographical Dictionary, 2:783-84, 786-89; deposition of Mary Threlkeld, March 
25, 1793, "Stone F8«9% Pap»erSi in fommm iie Stone famiiy, La Plata, Md.; Charles 
County Debt Books, 1753-74, in Land Office, Debt Books (S12), and Charles County In- 
ventories (C665), 1774, Lib. 117, fols. 91-^7, « the Maryland State Archives. 

24. Note 14 Supra; 'Bmgra^iml Didkimry, S!^#-^; J. ^^rdiyvoire, Bemeplaces: Tra- 
ditional Domestic Architecture of Charles County, Maryland (La Plata, Md.: Southern Mary- 
land Studies Center, Charles County Community College, 1990), 11-13; Jean B. Lee, The 
Price of Nationhood: The American Revolw^m m (^tafles C»m^ (Netr %rk: W. W. fferton 
and Co., 1994), 279; John Milner, Architects, in consultatkm with J. Richard Rivoire, Tho- 
mas Stone National Historic Site, La Plata, Maryland: Smnmeery Report of Additional Re- 
sem^ Endings (Chadds FOTd, l^a.: John Milner, Architects, 1993), 25-26, 40. 

25. Lee, Price of Nationhood, 53-54, 56; Biographical Dictionary, 2:485-86. 

26. Lee, Price of Nationhood, 99—104; Stone to unlcnown correspondent, February 2, 1774, 
Aut&gra^ i«#ws and Mst^i^tpks ef ^ ^gmrs'i^-i^ Deckmtion of Independence in the 
Possession of George C. Thomas (Phila«i«^IAi:'pri*«t^ printed, 1908), n.p. 

27. Maryland's connection to the widening hm^eiuli crisis is discussed in Ronald Hoffman, 
A Sp>irit of I>i^tt^&n:Seommm, P»MC'S, iiM^ReviAti^<mHnMetr)^md(MMmxjse: Johns 
Hopkins University Press, 1973), 128-38, and David C. Skaggs, Roots of Maryland Democ- 
racy, 1753-1776 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973), chap. 7. 

28. Maryland Gazette, June 16 and 30, 1774; Maryland Provincial Convention, Proceedings 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland, Held at the City of Annapolis in 1774, 1775, 
and J77&{l«W!i»orerjMfees Lucas and E. K. D«w**i% f^§>, 7-10. 

29. Dwight, Lives of the Signers, 259; Lee, Price of Nationhood, 88-89; Hoffman, Spirit of 
Dissension, 137-38; Biographical Dictionary, 2:485-86 for Jenifer, and 2:784-88 for the po- 
W^l&lt^meecs of I^omae Stone and his br@«bers Mi^ei ^^sfer and John Hoskins 

30. T. Stone to Margaret Stone, A^fl 28, 1775, in Sanderson et al., eds.. Biography of the 
5i%m^^S^^ri,.i4,|piillMii^ii|^^ The War of /mmwmhiiepen- 
dence: Military Att^^^ Mmlis, m»d Practice, 176^1789 (Nmr ISjric: t^teo^iibm, 1971), 

31. Wtom^ jm)iim,Aipr^2^ l?76,<«ii.l0 [HoUyday?], M^ 20-, 1774, Letters ^Bek^tes, 
3:580, 4:51; George W. Corner, ed., The/tH^fingraphy of Benjamin Rush: His "Travels through 
Life" Together with His Commonplace B§0kfm 1789-1813 (Princeton: Princeton University 
Press,^4ifeAR{»ieite%ii»g«|^f^#iiiety, 1948), 119-20;Higginbotham, Warof Ameri- 
can Independence, 152-62; note 17 supra. 

32. Stone to Jenifer, April 24, 1776, and to [Hollyday?], May 20, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 
3:580-81, 4s47, 50-51. 

33. Stone to [George Wtsl»Bft<m], Jawiary 16, 17?6,H€rpont Mof^n Library, New York, 

34. Stone to Jenifer, April 24, 1776, Lemm^B^egates, 3:580; Mar)iBn4 ddi^stes in Con- 
gress to the Council of Safety, April 12, 13, and 16, 1776, ibid., 3:516, 517, 542-43; William 
H. Browne et al., ed$.,Archives of Maryland, 73 vols, to date (Baltimore: Maryland Historical 
Society 1M3-1972; Aniw^is: Ite^**!^ «ite-/»€kfW!s, Iff®- ), 11:5, 13, 15-31; Mary- 
land Provincial Convention, Proceedings, 43, 52-53, 55-56, 64-66, 91-106. 

35. Stone to Jenifer, April 24, 1776, and to [HoUyday?], May 20, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 
3;580, 4y*7; Adams to Abigail MwBs, May 17, 17f«, ibid., 4:17. 

36. Stone to [Hollyday?], May 20, 1776, ibid., 4:49, 51. 

37. Ibid., 4:5 1-52; Maryland Provincial Convention, Proceedings, 141—42. 

38. Stone etal. to the Council of Stfetyifiuie 11, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 4:193; Vord,ed., 
Journals, 5:425. 

39. Jenifer to Sharpe, June 22, 1776, in Herbert E. Klingelhofer, "The Cautious Revolution: 
Maryland and the Movement toward Independence: 1774-1776," Maryland Historical Maga- 
zine, 60 (1965): 297, and see also pp. 292-306; Edmund C. Burnett, The Continental Con- 
gress (New York: Macmillan, 1941), 179-84; Maryland Provincial Convention, Proceedings, 
176; Stone to the Council of Safety, July 12, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 4:447. 

40. Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (Chapel Hill: Uni- 
versity of North Carolina Press, for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 
1 969) , 66, 123-24; John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard, The Economy of British America, 
1607-1 789 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, for the Institute of Early Ameri- 
can History and Culture, 1985); Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776, and his 
pepiy, April M, 1776, tH Tke Mmk '0f M%ail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family; 
1762-1784, ed. Lyman H. Battei€eld et al. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 
1975), 121-23. 

41 . Stone et al. to the Council of Safety, April 18, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 3:558; Council 
of Safety to Maryland delegates in Congress, April 22, 1776, Archives of Maryland, 11:369. 
These comments relate to pressures, generated outside the colony, to arrest Governor Eden. 

42. Richard Henry Lee to Charles Lee, May 11, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 3:655. 

43. Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1776, The Decisive Blow Is Struck: A Facsimile 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


Edition of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1776 and the First Maryland 
Constitm^mt, imtro. l#w»rd C Pa^enfiise and Gregory A. {hmmf^m: Hall of 

Records Commission, 1977), n.p.; Biographical Dictionary, 2:787-88. 

44. Stone to Jenifer, March 14, 1777, Gwathmey-Tayloe Collection, University of Virginia 
Library, Charlottesville; Stone to Jenifer, October 28, 1778, &vMm IMri^ JUtodtlS, 
1784, Roberts Collection, Haverford College, Haverford, Pa.; Maryland General Assembly, 
Votes and Proceedings of the Senate of the State of Maryland. October Session, 1778 [Annapo- 
lis, 177§?], l;M»ry^ii^G&zem, December 28, 1786; T.^e«iete'¥iiter'^(9«e,Ajp^M, 1782, 
Stone Family of Maryland Papers, fols. 60-61, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 

45. T. Stone to W. Stone, April 21, 1782, Stone Family of Maryland Papers, fol. 61; Carroll of 
Car#oftten to G. Cari®H» Mi^ 17, ifW^ las^wvef iy©at to ^arpe, 
August 18, 1784, Ridout Papers; Thomas Hanson deposition. May 5, 1800, Chancery Court 
Record 65 (1806) [S517], Maryland State Archives; Mary/and Gazeffe, December 17, 1786. 
Stone freq^jcntly referred to im ill heaMi. Sec, kfr examj^, letters to his brother Wefker, 
March 30, May 24, and December 9, 1783, in, respectively, the Signers' Collection, John 
Work Garrett Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; the Pequot Collection, Beinecke 
Rare B@«k aiid ManiiMi^Ciii^r])^ IImiv^^^ Conn.; and the Louis 
Bamberger Autograph Collection, New Jersey Historical Soci^; Mewark. 

46. Deposition of Margaret Stone Daniel, Mildred Stone Daniel, et al., November 30, 1808, 
Chaiicery Papers 4647, Maryfemd State Archives; Lee, The Price of Nationhood, 252. 

47. Articles 14-16 and 27 of the state Constitution of 1776, in The Decisive Blow Is Struck, n.p.; 
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, ed. Clinton Rossiter 
(New York: Mentor, 1961), 388; David Ramsay, The Mfstm-y ^ tke American Revolution, 2 
vols. (Philadelphia: R. Aitken and Son, 1789), 1:351. 

48. Maryland General Assembly, Votes and Proceedings of the Senate . . . February Session, 

1777 [Annapolis, 1777], 28; . .. June Session, 1777 [Annapolis, 1777], 71; . . . Manch Session, 

1778 [Annapolis, 1778], 38, 49; . . . June Session, 1780 [Annapolis, 1780], 107; . . . October 
Session, 1780 [Annapolis, 1781], 21, 23; . . . November Session, 1784 [Annapolis, 1785], 43- 
49; . . . November Session, 1785 [Annapolis, 178©]!^ 1&-22; Sanderson etA\.,eds,,Mo^ttpf^(rf 
the Signers, 9:331; Votes and Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland, 
October Session, 1780 [Annapolis, 1781], 60-66, 68. 

49. Maryland General Assembly, Votes and Proceedmgs of the Senate . . . February Session, 
1777, 51. 

50. For legislative business during the Revolutionary period, see Carl N. Everstine, The Gen- 
eral Assembly of Maryland, 1776-1850 (Charlottesville, Va.: Michie Co., 1982), chaps. 3-4; 
Hoffman, Spirit of Dissension, chaps. 9-10; and Philip A. Growl, Maryland during and after the 
Revolution: A Political and Economic Study (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943), chaps. 2-A. 

51. Mxn^md General Assembly, Votes and ProcetSmgs of the Senate . . . February Session, 
1777, 46, 52; . . . March Session, 1780, 87-88. 

52. Yazawa, ed., Representative Government and the Revolution, 10-12; Article 5 of the Dec- 
lars^en trfRigktis ^tide 1 1 oithe Goiw^lWition of 1776, in The Decisive Blow Is Strmdc, n. p. 

53. Carroll to John Fitzgerald, January 22, 1787, in The History of America in Documents: 
Original Autograph Letters, Manuscripts, and Source Materials (New York: Rosenbach Co., 
1950), 27; Mar)^and General Asserab^ W^ md Proceedings of the Senate . . . November 
Session, 1786 [Annapolis, 1787], 17-24, 34; Yazawa, ed., Representative Government and the 
Revolution, 35; Growl, Maryland during and after the Revolution, chap. 4. 

54. Maryland General Assembly, Votes and Proceedings of the Senate . . . November Session, 
1786, 37-39. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

55. Ibid., 42; Maryland Gazette, April 5, 1787. 

56. 'S&zawa, ed., Representative Gove<pmmftt mtd the Revolution, 53-96; qw>feitioris from pp. 
56, 64, 76, and 54, respectively. 

57. Stone to Washington, January 30, 1787, in The Papers of George Washington, ed. W. W. 
At^,-@««Mi^^^«^ig, et al., 35 vols, to date (Charlottesville: IMit^ntfi^ig^<ii'\i^fiim 
1976- ), Confederation Series, 4:550; T. Stone to Michael Jenifer Stone [early 1787], in His- 
tory of America in Documents, 21. 

58. Mm-yhmd Gazette, April 5, 1787. 

59. Ibid. 

60. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The M^i^P&pers, 387; Willi P. Adams, The First Ameri- 
can Constitutions: Ri^^^imnkkeii^mt^^Mdtk^^fke Stem Cmstitutions in the Revo- 
lutionary Era (Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina Press, for the Institute of Early 
American History and Culture, 1980); Wood, Creation of the American Republic, 18-20 and 
chap. 10. 

61. Max Farrand, ed.. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, rev. ed., 4 vols. (New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), h2l9;RamsaY, History of the American Revolution, 1:352. 

62. Hamilton, M«di»on, and Jiq»)Ife*yteHite*ft^ 3M, 388-89; Farrand, ed.,i?ecorrfso/ 
the Federal Convention, 1:218-19. 

63. Maryland General Assembly, Votes and Proceedings . . . April Session, 1787 [Annapolis, 
1787], 51. 

64. Ford, ed.. Journals, 5:561-62, 568-71, 741, and 6:865; Stone to the Council of Safety, 
July 12, 22, 23, 27, and 30, 1776, Letters of Delegates, 4:446-47,518-19, 526-27, 554, 582-83. 

65. Ford, ed.,7our»Hl^ 5i43&ifsilmMieml^wme»'(d<dt^UssmCmitgT&/^^ 

egates, 4:545-46, 603; Richard B. Monk, f%eMi^^4 the Unkm, 1781-1789 (New York: 
Harper and Row, 1987), 87. 

66. Jefferson to MacKstMi, Mvf 8, 1784, and James Monroe to Madisoti, September 12, 1786, 
Letters of Delegates, 21:601, 23:554; Ford, ed., Journals, 26:170, 250, 338-40, 27:433-35, 547. 

67. Papers of the Continental Congress (microfilm), item 81, Reports of John Jay, 1:40-41, 
^tetion^ ^cMvcs and Records Sef«ie€,^liMi^^|l@», D.C; fmd, ed., fomrmls, 26:246-47, 
3 10-1 1; Committee of Congress to Henry Gassaway, April 23, 1784, and Stone to the Mary- 
land Assembly, January 11, 179,5, Letters of Delegates, 21:538, 22:104-7. 

68. StoiM t® Monroe, DsceiHl^ 15j aMd-Mardi 18* 1785, Papers of James Monroe, 
1758-1839, Ser. 1, 1:47-51, 61-64, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 

69. Stone to Monroe, March 18, 1785, ibid., 1:61-64; Maryland General Assembly, Votes 
at^ Br&ceedmgs (^ the Senate . . . November Session, 1785, 73. 

70. Stone to Monroe, December 15, 1784, Papers of Jasim Monroe, 1:47; Stone to Wfehing- 
ton. Papers of George Washington, ed. Abbot et al., Cot^der^wn Series, 2:297. 

71. Maryland General Assearbly, tmftWmm&Hn^ c^the Senate . . . October Session, 
1777 [Annapolis, 1778], 25, 28; . . . March Session, 1778, 37-38; . . . November Session, 1784, 
24-25; Maryland Gazette, December 2, 1784; Washington to Lafayette, December 23, 1784, 
and t6 MsdisMi, Decefflbdr M, 17M, Papers of George Washington, ed. Abbot et al., Confed- 
eration Series, 2:228-29, 232. 

72. Maryland General Assembly, Votes and Proceedings of the Senate . . . November Session, 
lW4i Sf i 65, 75-7€! SMe^ Wk^iiagiMs Jmwmk^ 2^ 1^, ^ers (^Gesr^e ^^Mmtpon, ed. 
Abbot et al.. Confederation Series, 2:297; Stone to Monroe, March 18, 1785, Papers of James 
Monroe, 1:63. 

73. Madison to James Madison Sr., September 4, 1787, The Papers of James Madison, ed. 
William T. Hutchinson et al., 21 vols, to date (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962- 

In Search of Thomas Stone 


1977; Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977- ), 9:161; T. Stone to M. J. Stone 
[early 1787], History of America in Dammem, 21; T.Stone to W. Stone, April 21, 1782,Stone 
Family of Maryland Papers, fols. 59-60; a^i|ii^ to the Senate, in Maryland General Assem- 
bly, Votes and Proceedings of the Senate . . . i^hv^ber Session, 1784, 46. 

74. Mxr)4mdGmem,i^^$, 1787. 

75. Maryland General Assembly, Votes and Proceedings of the Senate . . . April Session, 1 787, 
51; Biographical Dictionary, 2:788; T. Stone to W. Stone, April 8, 1781, Stone Family of Mary- 
land Papers, fol 8 1. See, for a chmti €€ §itme\ hK^e6ttdkm, Kate M. Rowland, The Life of 
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, 1737-1832 (New Y<Mrk: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2:109. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Company E, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. These men from Frederick and Carroll Counties had served as 
guards at Point Lookout prison and were veterans of the bitter fighting at Fort Fisher in North Carolina 
by the time this photograph was taken in 1865. After serving garrison duty in the South, they mustered 
out and returned home to an uncertain reception in 1866. (Library of Congress/Ross M. Kimmel.) 


Blacks, Whites, and Guns: 
Interracial Violence in 
Post-Emancipation Maryland 


In Maryland, as elsewhere in the South, the social and economic upheaval of 
R<!C&]»tructk>ii Turn. iK^^oi^panied by gunnfi^ieled vkiimoe, whidi in part 
shaped the social, economic, and political landscape.' The immediate postwar 
years saw a combustible mix of people and events when blacks and whites con- 
fronted each other amidst circumstances altered by emancipation. In rural coun- 
ties, ex-C(»ifeden(«es frequently attacked freed slaw^s^ elten §0o^tt \mk. Macks 
who moved to Baltimore met a hostile society ill-prepared to cope with their 
arrival and often intent on obstructing their progress. There, too, armed blacks 
and whites faced each other in a new environment, one defined by emancipation 
and shaped by growing industrialization and incipient ghetto life.^ Behind the 
animosities lay deqjlf -seated problems: the destabilization of the rural economy, 
the forced or voluntary migration of several thousand black workers to Baltimore, 
and the inability of the city's economy to absorb them readily. These sudden changes 
invited dispute, and, in the absence of peaceftil alternatives, violence. 

The me&m we(« xaid% at hiitn4 feis^s^on (3f firearms both whites and 
blacks was, it would seem, widespread throughout the state. Tidewater whites 
were accustomed to guns as a normal accompaniment of rural hfe. Moreover, 
thousands of whites — rural and urban — ^had served in the Union and Confederate 
armies and returned with their weapons. During the war, too, many blacks ac- 
quired firearms for the first time.' Some of these, particularly muskets, came di- 
rectly from the United States Army, in which ten thousand black Marylanders 
served.'' In 1 866, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles estimated that in Baltimore 
alone more than five hundred blacks owned muskets purchased from the govern- 
meirt.' After the wan^ded, black para-miitary regiments took to the streets of 
Baltimore with these and other weapons which — ^judging by the frequency of fire- 
arm-related altercations between whites and blacks — ^were readily accessible and 
often loaded. As a means of settling disputes either among themselves or against 
each other, blacks and whites both resorted to firearms with alarming frequency.* 
Armed confrontation feetpeen whites and blacks occurred as eariy as 1863 
when the federal government stationed several units of black troops in strategic 

Richard Paul Fuke isan associate professor of history at Wilfrid Laurier University. 



Maryland Historical Magazine 

positions near Washington to defend the capital and assist in recruiting black 
soldiers for the Union army. Opposed to the presence of ft^tnen, a delegation of 
St. Mary's County planters petitioned Abraham Lincoln. "Armed colored troops," 
they complained, "by their presence with arms in their hands, are threatening 
quietpeople and producing great confusion."' That whites objected to black sol- 
diers was related to the latter's interference with tidewater labor-management 
relations. Nevertheless, the unda"tMie of concern registered at the presence of 
armed colored troops was obvious and continued after the war. 

That was especially apparent in early 1865, when the bulk of Maryland's U.S. 
Colored Troops were mustered out of the Union army. Black veterans returning to 
their homes — primarily om the Eastern SlK»tt'lih(f in Southern Maryland — ^bf- 
came particular targets of abuse at the hands of the many whites who had served 
the Confederacy. In January 1866, Maryland's John A. J. Creswell rose in the Sen- 
ate to warn of "combinations of returned rebel soldiers [that] have been formed 
for the express purpose of persecuting, beating, and In somss cases . . . murdering 
returned colored soldiers." In July of the same year, Freedmen's Bureati officer 
William L. VanDerlip added from southern Maryland, "There are large numbers 
of young men [here] who have served in the rebel army . . . [and who] threaten 
Negroes and any who may come here with a helping hand."^ 

OBviomly there was more to wiiieawftrtc^ity than Mack ownership of guns, 
but that frequently served to motivate confrontation. On March 13,1 866, a black 
correspondent from Queen Anne's County told Oliver Otis Howard, Commis- 
sioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, that "the returned colored soldiers are beaten, 
and their guns taken from themf Utree mottAs later, btiTeau officer Wflliam 
VanDerlip described several incidents in Calvert County in which "white men with- 
out any legal authority visited the quarters of nearly all the freed people in the 
vicinity ... for the purpose of searching for arms. Whenever a gun was found, they 
carried it away" (italics mine). In September, John Turton, sheriff of Prince George's 
County, seized weapons from btelcs dn'thc basis of fiibritated orders "to take 
possession of all Government property found in the hands of colored persons."' 

These were not isolated incidents. In August 1865 the St. Mary's Gazette called 
upon planters to form squads of vigilantes consisting of "as many active young 
men ... as maybe n«cessary^t®1seephoffe ai»Ickim<:d tftat'ttie peace and safety of 
our society demancfe^ eii&st possible re-enactment of the law . . . which [barred] 
the negro from the privilege of carrying murderous weapons." In March 1 865, a Calvert 
County correspondent to the Baltimore Gazette complained that the federal govern- 
ment had "armed negroes to the teeth," and warned "if some steps are not taken to check 
[them] , God orrfy knows what i^ <x«fleiiSEt.''In fune 'li67, a iMbot County resident 
suggested to the Easton Star that the General Assembly, reccmstituted by Unionists 
after the Constitution of 1 864, had permitted blacks to carry guns not "to protect their 
rights" but instead "to drive whites from the polls at the next election." "* 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


Whites perceived real and present dangers in the possession of guns by blacks. 
One Talbot County observer saw signs of a black "revolution and insurrection." 
Another, in Queen Anne's County, voiced fear of a similar insurrectionary move- 
ment." "Let the people look well into this matter," he warned. "It forb odes evU to the 
community and should be watched." Even more moderate critics of blacks' behav- 
ior, such as the Baltimore Sun, saw danger in their use of guns and took pains to 
ledtuwtlh^ accordingly. Intoi^^iiirirfewateiust 10, 1867, ftie Sun clawed that 
"o«ly tiie disorderly and ruffian element of white society is guilty of carrying . . . 
weapons," and warned blacks that by doing the same they lowered themselves to 
that degraded level." 

M?%lte^b*eiT<ffs emphasized the growing nunikar oil nciteiti m wbick M&dks 
used €teaffins« $^^m -vMem. W^Mmhiikf dto:iMi§^vtr« l^ose tkattiliri^bterted 
public order. In Baltimore in January 1866, a black man fired a number of pistol 
shots at a group of whites.'^ Two months later, in a disturbance at a Friendship 
church meeting, black soldiers shot and killed one out of a number of white assail- 
ants. Two ttack veterans were arrested." In Se|)W«fed*, at a Mrthodist caiflf) meet- 
ing at Hanover Switch, Anne Arundel County, black worshippers resfiOnded to 
whites' taunts and other irritants by firing at their antagonists.''' 

But blacks were not always the ones to fire first. In February 1866, in Hagers- 
town, twenty ex-Confederate soldiers, all armed, occupied a black school with the 
intent of scaiiing xm^ tts teacher. Blacks showed up -mth jgms, but i»nly after 
whites had made the first move.'^ In March of the same year, whites shot at a black 
teacher in Queen Anne's County."' In May, in Easton, a white gunman in broad 
daylight shot and killed a black man for no apparent reason, and in July, in 
Fridemk^, armed whites broke«^ aci^djrt^ii aMotigfeladcs/seariousIy injuring 
one of the parlidpants.''' Similar incidents took place in 1867. One particularly 
blatant attack occurred in July when a party of white Baltimoreans resolved to 
"clean out the niggers" working at Ely and Company's brickyard. They approached 
the grounds firing their pistols at black workers and retreated only sevSrji of 
the latter, possibly to their assailants' surprise, returned fire.'* 

To a few, provocation by whites had reached such an extent that it invited the 
very object it feared. Reporting in August 1865 from southern Maryland, Seldon 
Clark of the Freedmen's Bureau warned that "unless some means is devised to 
secure simple justice firom the planters . . . [blades] will take the law into their own 
hands as the only means to protect themselves." "The negro would be less than a 
man," he argued, "not to resort to the lex talionis under such opposition with no 
other remedy provided."" 

Clark, his fdlow Ffeedmen's Bureau cheers, and a haftdftil of Unionist or 
Republican politicians vigorously defended blacks' right to possess firearms. Men 
such as Senator John A. J. Creswell, Judge Hugh Lennox Bond of the Baltimore 
Criminal Court, and Edward C. Fulton, editor of the Baltimore American added 


Maryland Historical Magazine 






Murder in Calvert County. 

CiLYKKjf County, "I 
Frikndsuh', Maxell id, lyOG. J 

J/csjjr*. Editors liultitnore Gazette: 

few days i\^o two returnee • negro soldiers 

canle to the residence of Dr. John Wilkinson, in- 

quirin": for certain gentlemen in the nei^jbborliood 

wanted labor. They spoice of tbera without 

cr the Mr.; the Dr. c.ill«d tlielr attention to 
fact; they at'once used towaid^j him the most 
ive threat!', and drew a rerolver on hi in. Ho 
tiu'in and jjot out a warrant for their arrest, 
was put into the hands of olHcor Denton, who, 
I a pnriii coinitatu9, proceeded to a ne^^ro mcH't- 
ytjiteraav to arrest them As soon as the 
oes discovered. the ollicerff, they drew their re- 
(TB and commenced shootinp. The olHctM-'s 
ol mii<9ed tire, and ono of tho negroes drove a 
throuj^h the brain of one of our m0!?t estima- 
younof men, lulwin Robinson, son of Mr. L. V. 
inson, of Salisbury, Maryland. Jle died last 
nid jt. The nc^'roes wery arrested and taken to. 
jail The military . has, to a very great eirtent, 
dis riiied our pcioplu, and the negroes are armed 
t(/ihe teeth. Robbery id of ni<ri,tiy occurrence, 
an L now murder 18 bein{< accomplighed.. Jf gome. 
ste|)8 are not at once taken to check the negroes 
;»nce, God only knoiYi what will. come next. 

An account of racial violence in southern Maryland reported to the Baltimore Gazette, March 22, 

their voices to those of the bureau in offering a clear and outspoken argument in 
blacks' defense. In 1866 the American responded sarcastically to those who op- 
posed the possession or use of firearms by blacks. "When the armies of the Republic 
were disbanded," it explained, "a general order was issued . . . which permitted each 

person to purchase his musket The order neglected to say that negro soldiers 

should not have their guns, and they were, therefore, allowed to purchase [them] 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


for money, just as if they had been Chinese, Gypsies, Turks, or Laplanders." In 
January 1867, in response to efforts in the General Assembly to revive gun restric- 
tions, the American expand»iii»»gument. 

We are at an utter loss to know why such a law is proposed. It was on 
the statute book once and was repealed. Has anything occurred since 
to demand ife,xe«»actment? Where are the riots or the massacres or 
even the atrocious murders? Such things might require a strict police 

law, but there is nothing of the kind to justify such a measure On 

the other hand, we hi^ had ©n m&ee. than one occasion to chronicle 
assaults wantons outrageous, and unprovoked upon . . . [blacks] by 
whites. Is it proposed to punish the [former] for their good conduct? 
Or have a set of base men combined to deprive them of the means of 
self-defense? . . . [We] must remember that many of these guns were 
[sold] to the negroes by the government. They are held under a law of 
the United States. Does the legislature propose to disregard it? . . . 
Besides, such a law affecting blacks alone is contrary to the Civil Rights 
Bill. Can the legislature afford to defy Congress?^" 

To this white minority, black Marylanders added their own voices. In Novem- 
ber 1 866, blacks in Elkton met to encourage members of their community to pur- 
chase guns. "Arm yourselves," one spokesman was said to have proclaimed bitterly, 
"with the rifle» the pistol, israd^s^otgixn . . ..niot necessarUy to kit men with, but 
as a useful aid in securing game."In October 1867 an anonymous black Baltimorean 
added a constitutional argument: "[Blacks] are citizens of the United States. As 
men, they are entitled to bear arms. They are entitled to protection . . . and are not 

to be called 'damned niggers' and kicked and cuffed along the street Unless ram. 

feel they have legal protection, th^.lwwsa;] indulge in self defense."^' 

The debate over blacks' possession and use of firearms reached a climax in 
Baltimore in the summer and fall of 1867. Two years earlier, recently discharged 
black soldiers sought entry into the regular state militia but were rejected. Between 
1865 and 1867 the question of black enlistment in the militia came up a number of 
times in the General Assembly, but nothing came of it.^^ In the face of this rebuff, 
black veterans sought to establish their own militia. Using equipment — including 
muskets — purchased from the U.S. Army, they mustered in as many volunteers as 
they couid find and set up several regiments within the city. Soon these organiza- 
tions took to the streets, fyjyuBi^iifflBd^ijdarmed.'^' 

The first club or regiment to appear was the "Lincoln Zouaves, Corps 
d'Afrique," which in December 1 865 and May 1 866 served as honor guard at recep- 
tions for returning United States Colored Troops. Within a year, four other units 
had been formed. On April 1 6, 1 867, the "Oakland Invincible Guards" marched in 


Maryland Historical Magazin e 

U.S. Senator John A. }. Creswell defended the 
right of black citizens to keep army-issue 
weapons. (Maryland Historical Society.) 

Washington as a part of an emancipation celebration. On June 24, the "Hugh 
Lennox Bond Militia" held its first drill in Mount Vernon Hall, the Lincoln Zouaves' 
armory at the corner of Franklin and Howard Streets. On August 2, the "Henry 
Winter Davis Guards" held their first parade complete with five full companies and 
a brass band. Three weeks later, the "Butler Guards" of South Baltimore made 
their first appearance as the honor guard for a public lecture at the city's largest 
African Methodist Episcopal Church. By 1 867 the Lincoln Zouaves and the Henry 
Winter Davis Guards boasted a membership of more than a thousand men each, 
and smaller units claimed at least two hundred. Crowds of black Baltimoreans 
lined the streets to watch these regiments on parade.^* 

There was more to it than brass bands and colorful uniforms; military activi- 
ties of any sort — especially those with muskets — symbolized racial equality in a 
manner that was inescapably clear. At a mass encampment of black regiments in 
September 1 867, Archibald Stirling Jr., a white Republican, told his audience: "The 
question of [equality] was settled when the soldiers, black and white, marched 
against the common enemy, laid down their lives and souls and ascended to the 
same God. The significance of our being here today is that it shows that colored 
men are ready to bear the duties of [full] citizenship."^' 

Few things could be better calculated to arouse the ire of Baltimore's white 
population, most of which was not Republican, than the sight of hundreds of 
armed blacks parading on the city's main streets. Such an open display of black 
aspirations touched a vital nerve, and whites' response to it was swift. In 1 866 three 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


Rejected as members of the Maryland militia, black veterans formed their own units. The Lincoln 
Zouaves, shown here in a detail from an 1870 print commemorating the Fifteenth Amendment, 
counted more than a thousand members by 1867. (Maryland Historical Society.) 

separate altercations between white onloo leers and black regiments broke out, and 
in 1 867 hardly a drill or march took place without some sort of violent confronta- 
tion. At a very early stage, in response to these incidents, blacks began to parade 
with their muskets loaded.^* 

By far the most dramatic incident occurred on the night of October 1 7, 1 867, 
when the Butler Guards of South Baltimore encountered a hail of rocks and bricks. 
Predictably, a scuffle broke out between marchers and spectators, but this time 
several blacks broke ranks and fired shots into the crowd. The consequences were 
immediate and devastating as one of the balls killed a white man outright. Every- 
one was so shocked that the police had little difficulty in restoring order, but the 
"Howard Street Shooting," as it came to be called, seriously exacerbated what 
already had become a tense racial situation. In the event, the police responded 
quickly by prohibiting all daytime parades involving firearrns except by the regu- 
lar state militia, and all evening parades of any sort.'^^ 

Whites' response to the "Howard Street Shooting" was predictable. A minor- 
ity sympathetic to blacks attempted to defend the actions of the Butler Guards. 
The American sought to place the shooting in the context of what had become a 
long series of racial disturbances accompanying black military parades and ar- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

gued that the Guards' behavior was more the result of long suffering under white 
abuse than from any inherent lack of judgement or respect for human life. The 
American recognized the danger inherent in marching with loaded weapons but 
regretted what had become an almost "constant experience of late" — ^white harass- 
ment of black parades. If blacks were now dangerous, it was because whites had 
made them so.^* 

Most whites, however, reacted with outright hostility. The actions of the But- 
ler Guards, they believed, clearly illustrated the danger of permitting blacks to 
possess, let alone carry, firearms and provided ample justification for revoking the 
privilege. White Baltimoreans subsequently applauded the police when they fol- 
lowed up their ban on parades with a concerted effort to confiscate all of the 
weapons and military trappings belonging to the Butler Guards. On October 18 
the conservative Baltimore Gazette declared angrily that "Drilling with loaded 
muskets and full cartridges is a special privilege which should not be allowed negroes 
even in the day time."^' 

The E<»i^iiiics Behind the Violence 

Behind the Howard Stefeet gfao d ii B^li^'p roblems much larger than any ques- 
tion of privilege. At stake were broad issues of social and economic confrontation 
between blacks and whites central to Maryland's adjustment to post-emancipa- 
tion race relations. Several factors contributed to this tension. Migration into the 
city by several thousand rural blacks in the months immediately after emancipa- 
tion strained the resources of charitable agencies and community services. Jobs, 
while in the long run generally available, were often not readily so, and even under 
the best of circumstances the sudden arrival of new workers intensified the compe- 
tition between whites and blacks, especially in semi-skilled trades. Increasingly 
crowded black neighborhoods experienced growing confrontation with whites 
who lived or worked in adjoining neighborhoods. To the latter, black Baltimoreans 
following emancipation constituted a much more visible minority than they had 
in the antebellum period, a change in perspective instigated by freedom, enhanced 
by rural migration, and exacerbated by fear. 

For decades, free blacks had provided much of Baltimore's unskilled labor and 
had played an important role in several semi-skilled and even skilled occupations. 
Black men had worked as common laborers, draymen, porters, and oyster shuckers. 
Women had labored as servants and washerwomen or laundresses. Some men held 
jobs as semi-skilled hod carriers and brickmakers. Among the most skilled were 
ship caulkers. A few served both the white and black community as waiters, bar- 
bers, and caterers, and a small professional and business elite taught school, 
preached the gospel, and ran businesses within the black community. The Civil 
War sustained such activity, especially at the unskilled level, and tJie prospect of 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


ready employment at relatively high wages constituted an important part of the 
post-emancipation attraction of city life. Generally urban employment paid more 
thaa farm work, often three or four times as much, although rent and foedfif^ 
seklcm included. From a yearly wage of $300 to $400, a steadily employed black 
laborer might count on $200 or $250 after room and board, a figure substantially 
higher than the net pay of a tidewater farmhand.^" 

Cks<fli6fe«iis«f ioch figures, the situatio«ioetei^oi!iiising.*rhefidd^^- 
ptei7^^»t is great," declared the Baltimore American with apparently justiiabk 
optimism. By 1868 Woods' City Directory counted 8,000 employed black heads of 
households, a 100 percent increase from four years earlier. More specifically, the 
number of laborers grew from 883 to 1,880, laundresses from 616 to 1,43 1, waiters 
from 350 to 662, porters from 294 to 4Mrdwymen from 288 to 371, and cooks 
from 176 to 325." Only a portion of blacks living in Baltimore appeared in the 
Directory, but such increases undoubtedly reflected growth in the total number at 
work in the city. "There are over thirty thousand colored people in Baltimore," 
maintained the American in Oetefeer 1§65, "They have or can have constant em- 
ploymer*t fc* there is no lack of demand for the kind of labor whkhfor the most 
part they can perform."^^ 

But appearances were deceiving. Although many black migrants found em- 
ployment immediately, the sheer numbers flooding the city df^ied everyone the 
same chance. Throughout the entire period, competition for steady work was stiff 
among migrants and from whites. Furthermore, many proved ill-equipped to find 
regular jobs at the best wages. Among hundreds seeking relief were a dispropor- 
tionate number who were old and infirm, or women with dependent children. 
And even those ^vho did fittd steady worfc, either knmpdiately or eventually, were 
generally confined to jobs at the lowest level of the urban economy. Most rural 
blacks who sought their fortuties in Baltimore did so by swelling the ranks of its 
unskilled labor force. 

No mm^a had emandpatiraiibecome IsRvtban Mtimore found d^titute blacks 
everywhere«i its streets and in its almshouse. "We find more suffering than we are 
able to alleviate," reported the Friends Association in Aid of Freedmen in January 
1 865. "It [is] impossible to afford relief to all . . . who make daily application."" In 
February the association called attention to the problem of "old women and young 
children . . . crowded into alleys and oArSj WhcJre'dim' destitution taas escaped 
public observation." They had been "cast out," the association explained, "by their 
unpitying and inhuman masters, at the most incident season of the year, utterly 
unprovided for and helpless."'* 

At the same time, the Baltimore City Council exprc^ed shock at the number of 
rmsA bkcks seeMng'sM^in i^jiaf^Vi^A^liim almshouse. More were coming 
in "daily," and it was the council's opinion that the state legislature should pass a 
law forcing the rural counties to care for their poor. Indeed, the Bay View Asylum 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

reflected the dimensions of the problem throughout the period, for between 1 864 
and 1 870 the number of black inmates constituted between 20 and 25 percent of its 
total residents, a figure much higher than anything experienced before. Msmi^-m 
January 1865, the city council reported "the increase is principally coloredf*^- 
sons, who are daily admitted from the several counties of the State."" 

Nor was it only the almshouse that suffered the pressure of black migration. 
On August % 1 855,4lie B^itmrtSm addressed the prra^*ce of rural blacks "who 
are now loafing about the wharfs acquiring vicious habits, or obtaining the means 
of a precarious existence only by the few jobs they [can] procure." In June 1866 the 
Gazette added its concern. "The great influx of negroes in the city since emancipa- 
tion has become a nuisance. . . . They come in to the city without the means of 
support, a-ntf Kiaiiy of th«m-^40«B49iildl*t mmoAm tiie ^nrrtry where their 
labor is needed — depend on what they can pick up to satisfy the demands of hun- 
ger." The Gazette pointed out that the city jail was as crowded with blacks as the 
almshouse and said that "Large accessions of negroes from the counties" were to 
blame. Six months later, the 9iMm@m S^mmmn identified the same problem, 
attributing an increase in urban Jfi0ai^*6i'*#ie vast numbers^of iA or unem- 
ployed b lacks who have been thrown upon Ae public by the«v«nfe of the past two 
or three years."'* 

loosed, betvireen 1864 iffid 18f © a growing numba' of bl«cks were charged wth 
petty thdk, assault, and disorderly conduct. The pictere that emerged from the 
records ofthe Baltimore criminal court and the city jail was clearly that of a hard- 
pressed black community that ran afoul of the law much more than pre-emancipa- 
tion black residents. Unable to cope with the increased case load, and hard-pressed 
to find additional jail ceHs, ti^<s&^iilh>Mamm^ most minor charges, apparently 
accepting them as an unavoidable consequence of substantial black migration." 

Neither public nor private agencies were capable of addressing the situation 
effectively. City-run charitable institutions were few. The Bay View Asylum ac- 
cepted blades as did the i»toine Ho^il^ md municipal dispensaries issued medi- 
cine and drugs to the very poOT «f both races.'* ]fct ii«>st charities were entirely 
private or were private with some city support, and as such were under no obliga- 
tion to respond to the needs of blacks. Apart from the almshouse, the Freedmen's 
Bureau, and the Friends Association in Aid of Freedmen, indigent migrants de- 
pended i^en tine ^^tetosky of 'i»e eit^Mwck c^iMMoity, which while doing the 
best it could with its own charitable societies, fell far short of mustering the sup- 
port necessary for so many people. 

In fact the white community was philosophically unprepared to do anything 
extrasBrdiiMy t® fecilitate tlwsoirrftrfniMi bkck-ffltigranf S. In an era wedded to 
laissez-ft^j-c^n^v^wI^ii^fSHleai^ Madkal-R^ublicans alike Turned to con- 
template any action beyond the prevailing ideology of self-help. Municipal au- 
thorities throughout the United States had not yet recognized the need for modern 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


This woodcut from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 30, 1865, shows freedmen 
arriving in Baltimore. Entitled "An Everyday Scene," its unflattering portrayal of blacks by a staff 
artist was but a weak reflee^m tf the hostility blacks encountered as economic imi^&idm mth 
whites increased. 

city-funded social services. It did not occur to either the mayor or the city council 
of Baltimore that the sudden influx of so many people required both long and 
short-run planning. The city was prepared to offer some support to the utterly 
destitute, but beyond that it failed to move. As a consequence, black migrants 
moved into housing and jobs made available by the marketplace. They found what 
accommodation they could in already established black neighborhoods and work 
at what were generally the most menial and least desirable wage levels. Baltimore's 
post-emancipation economy grew sufficiently to absorb a large addition to its 
black work force, but in a pattern that would be repeated later in the nineteenth 
century and again in the twentieth, it forced them into the lowest categories of 

Unskilled migrants were not the only group to suffer from the problems asso- 
ciated with an abundant supply of labor and consequent underemployment. Both 
the black professional and business elite and semi-skilled and skilled workers ear- 
lier had enjoyed a protected status of sorts assured by the need for their services 
and a recognition of their "place" in the static labor market of Maryland's strictly 
controlled slave and free black economy. That protection disappeared after eman- 
cipation. In the volatile atmosphere of the city's wartime and postwar economy 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

and race relations, blacks could no longerbe sure of such "place" and confronted a 
new level of competition with whites. 

Blacks in a number of occupations found themselves under particular pressure 
from whites after emancipation. Historically, whenever white Baltimoreans had 
feared black competition, they tried to restrict it. This had been the case especially 
with black stevedores and ship caulkers who had waged bitter struggles with white 
workers in Baltimore's dockyards on a number of occasions before the Civil War.^° 
Moreover, emancipation did nothing to diminish whites' antagonism to blacks in 
such occupations. Indeed it contributed to its intensification as the arrival of so 
many rural migrants raised the specter of even greater competition. 

As early as November 14, 1864, representatives of several black labor organi- 
zations predicted trouble. In an open letter to the Baltimore American, they ex- 

an indefinable apprehension of an antagonism on the part of white 
working men. [We believe] ... it likely to lead not only to the repres- 
sion of [our] efforts towards an honest maintenance, but to render 
our social position so uncomfortable as to result matdy in driv- 
ing us beyond the boundaries of our state.'" 

A case in point were the city's Hack oyster shuckers. On two occasions, the first 

in December 1 864 and the second a year later, what the Baltimore American de- 
scribed as "an association of oyster shuckers, consisting entirely of colored men," 
struck several city restaurants for higher wages. In both instances they attracted 
v«despread publicity and in fact reclaimed their jobs despite the efforts of propri- 
etors to hire replacements, but nsAm^SiMe was completely successful in vanning 
higher wages.''^ Black brickmakers encountered similar difficulties. When several 
yard owners threatened to reduce wages, they went on strike and in the end were 
compelled to start their own company, the First Colored Brickyard Association, 
selling sh^-es t© the black commuii%atrfive dollars each.*' 

All too often, violence accompanied economic competition. When the black 
oyster shuckers returned to reclaim their work, a riot ensued.''* In November 1865 
whites attacked black stevedores at work on the South Street Wharf and badly 
injured several.''^ In February 1866 white workers at the Union Dock prevented 
blacks fi-om unloading ships, forcii^ police officers to intervene.** A month later, 
at Locust Point, black stevedores were again forced off the job, and in July 1867 
black brickmakers at Ely and Company Brickyard were fired upon by whites intent 
on driving them off" the grounds.*^ 

j^dis p3^9tiesited«och'iiid«iii^a«Jbint^iqr could. An eyewitae^ to the Novem- 
ber 1865 attack on the South Street Wharf stevedores addressed an impassioned 
plea to the American asking, "Is there no protection for the inoffensive colored men 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 



Bayview Asylum sheltered large numbers of black refugees who migrated to BMmore after the 
war only to find poverty and unemployment. (Maryland Historical Society.) 

when they are pursuing the most humble walks of life [and seeking] a living for 
themselves and families?"'" The platform of the State Colored Convention in De- 
cember 1 865 demanded that black Baltimoreans receive the "protection of the law" 
when pursuing their occupations.'" Neither protest accomplished much. Within 
months of emancipation, white antagonism toward black workers in certain trades 
had become an established part of the Baltimore economy. 

The most serious dispute between white and black labor involved ship caulkers 
and other dockyard workers in the autumn and winter of 1 865-1866. On Septem- 
ber 26, at the instigation of white caulkers at the Federal Hill Yards, white carpen- 
ters, joiners, and painters in East Baltimore struck to force the firm of John J. 
Abrahams and Son to fire its seventy- five black caulkers. The white workers timed 
their demand to coincide with the company's last minute efforts to complete re- 
pairs to the Worcester and Somerset^ the twin flagships of the new Liverpool Steam- 
ship Line.^ 

Initial response to the strike was hostile. On September 28 the Baltimore Ameri- 
can declared the question to be "whether the employers have a right to engage such 
persons ... as they may think proper without respect to color, or whether they 
shall discharge . . . [black workers] at the bidding of others." The usually 
Negrophobic Baltimore Gazette was equally firm. "It seems to us that this effort to 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

drive out the negro caulkers is wholly unj ustified and indefensible. It is very hard 
that they should be compelled to abandon their work in deference to the wishes of 
white men who have chosen to follow the same calling."^' 

The black caulkers refused to remain silent. Determined to retain their posi- 
tions in the East Baltimore yards and to protect their right to a fair share of the 
labor market, they remained on the job at Abrahams, working under police pro- 
tection. Then on October 2 the Colored Caulkers' Association assumed the offen- 
sive in a public attempt to counter the strikers' action. In an appeal which ap- 
peared that day in every Baltimore newspaper, blacks spoke out in defense of their 
jobs. "From the earliest period of shipbuilding in Baltimore," they argued^ 

it has been our privilege to successfully conduct that branch of me- 
chanics known the world over as "caulking." Our qualifications have 
given us an enviable reputation; our workmanship challenges com- 
petition with the world. . . . And now, whilst quietly and diligently 
trying to make an honest living ... an unjust cry is raised: Away with 
Negro caulkers! Extermination! Annihilation! — and for what? Be- 
cause God chose to make our skins dark. . . . Why should white orga- 
nizations . . . suspend work, paralyze business [and] arrest the progress 
of commerce because a few colored men in this little corner of cre- 
ation have a little business to themselves We ask to be "left alone." 

Let us work for those who will employ us. . . . [Let] us make an honest 
livelihood for the support of our families.'^ 

The East Baltimore shipyard owners maintained their lockout until mid-Oc- 
tober, but they were losing money daily and the strikers were as determined as ever. 
To make matters worse, some of the latter had found new jobs in the South Balti- 
more shipyards, and a few had established an independent operation in Canton 
with a number of lucrative contracts." Finally, on October 25 the owners yielded 
to the strikers' demands, abandoning their previous position and agreeing to phase 
out all black caulkers by the spring of 1866. Henceforth they were to be hired only 
if there were no whites available.^'' 

A week later, black caulkers from all the East Baltimore yards walked off the 
job and on November 7 met with black workers from every trade in the city. To- 
gether they expressed their disgust with Baltimore's white laborers. Laying the 
entire blame for the shipyard dispute at their feet, they declared: 

Ttee do exi&t m tke city of Baltimore certain en^nizstimis having 
for their object the extermination of colored labor. . . . We believe 
said organization [s] to be repugnant to the fundamental principles 
of a democratical government and a flagrant outrage upon the com- 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


mon rights guaranteed ... to all American citizens. . . . Said organiza- 
tions are based on prejudice on account of color and the desire to 
monopolize and control the labor market. . . . We believe that the 

It was a bitter defeat, one which angered black Baltimoreans and soured race 
rd«ti@«s » the city for years to-ajftfft. l%e s«ttlei««»t, explained the American, 
gave white workers "all or nearly all that they contended for." Beyond the promise 
of some winter employment, black caulkers received nothing. As the American 
added later, "The days of Negro caulking are virtually over."^* In fact the damage 
was far more widespread. According to one estimate, the widening strike had cost 
over a thousand black workers their j©t>s, only two or three •h«fidred «rf whom 
were actually caulkers. After its reporter interviewed several black leadeM, the 
New York Tribune explained that "extermination of [all] colored mechanics was 
openly declared to be the aim of their white rivals — Very soon the strike threat- 
ened to become general . . . thei^ioieiice threatened to be extended even to 
hotel workers of the proscribed race."" 

By 1870, the city's skilled trades employed few blacks. Most, especially the 
many migrants from the tidewater counties, remained unskilled, and their life, like 
that of their rural counterparts, was essentially a struggle to maiMaifi svhsktmce. 
Most urban hlads&fmmd work, ami-iio doubt with it a degree of aateoomy, but 
remained assigned to the bottom of the city's economic ladder. All of this tran- 
spired within what was, by all accounts, a growing urban economy. According to 
observers, Baltimore did well during the war and postwar years, expanding both 
its commerce, industry, and poptlijrtion. By 1870, Baltimore was more than a 
cotton entrepot and grain broker; industrialism was beginning to appear. An 1 867 
description of the city spoke enthusiastically of: 

ks European lines »f ^e^oships keeping up constant communication 
with all the chief ports of *w IMion; — with its Rtflroads evening 
speedy and direct communicatiea twth every portion of the [coun- 
try], conveying to them all the fabric and material of domestic manu- 
facture and foreign commerce, and receiving in return the agricul- 
tural and mineral wealth of tiie whole [nation].'' 

To the extent that Baltimore's economy had room for several thousand addi- 
tional unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, rural black migrants shared in such growth. 
But they did not enjoy what i^£^Amm J^mericm identified as progress "com- 
mensurate with the demands of our rap»dly increasing business." If anything, blacks' 
menial role as Frederick Douglass's "hewers of wood and drawers of water" was 
more starkly defined in 1 870 than it had been six years earlier.^' Far from opening 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

opportunities to blacks at all levels, the post-emancipation years witnessed a flat- 
tening of their profile in the greater Baltimore economy. 

Such conditions provided the backdrop for interracial violence. Coifj^fetition 
for jobs often led directly to physical confrontation, but more importantly, the 
broad demographic and economic changes in post-emancipation Baltimore, and 
the attitudes they engendered among whites, greatly heightened racial intolerance 
and distrust. Most urban whites attributed the ecoilffliic plight oi fms^Bs^^c 
fl««i«-iB«*iitli0liK*Xfef- few, if any, of the negroes," explained ^ 9$Mmre Ga- 
zette, on November 3, 1 865, "will settle down to steady and persistent work; many 
will not work at all; whilst the large majority prefer to alternate a little labor with 
a large amount of idleness and vagabondage."'" More than a year later, state sena- 
tor and soon to be go^eftiqt^iiilt ^M Wi tel i ii ' ^^ mm mspation for "fmi^iinset- 
tling and demoralizing . . . that hitherto useful and contented class of labor," and 
concluded that a "retrograde, instead of advanced condition," awaited black labor.'' 

Given these attitudes and the philosophy on which they were based, it was 
almost inevitable that white Bj^^tJW«» T»«Jd respond as tiiey did, aitdthat 
violence would accompany that response. They viewed conflict in terms of blacks' 
"demoralized" state and attributed violent behavior as a natural accompaniment 
to an idle and degenerated people. The actions — martial and economic — of urban 
blacks threatened the peace and good order of the community and called for ap- 
pfdpriaftetegislation and vigil*«t fiife^ |»rotection. As for the individual black 
laborer, " [h] is habits are naturally shiftless and desultory," explained the Gazette, 
"and nothing short of subjecting him to a certain measure of control . . . can 
prevent him from becoming a burthen and an annoyance to the community in 
which he resid«.*'*^ 

The burden of such control fell to a police force that fiilly reflected community 
sentiments. Understaffed and poorly funded, the police responded vigorously to 
crises, but police officials shared the common view that post-emancipation black 
migration into #ie city constituted an invasion of g0a*s whk^ should be resisted. 
"For some tim« past^'^nwiliiiii^^Mi^MarsM llfcniMsH. Carmichael in 
June 1 866, "our city has been flooded with paupers . . . fi^om other sections of coun- 
ties .... The several watch-houses have, day after day, been filled with them. ... I would 
suggest that you take some steps by which the nuisance maybe abated, either by 
imposing a fine on those now bringing them here or by some other niea;ns your 
wisdom may suggest."'^ 

The growth of racial antagonism in postwar Maryland was surprising in its 
degree but logical and predictable, once emancipation removed the restraints of 
slavery which had at once controlled the movement of the rural black population 
tM ^Se^ned, in the minds of whites, the relationship between frdsyaii:^ an^t^Aiite 
society. The appearance of so many rural ex-slaves in their midst, often armed and 
willing to risk violent confrontations, frightened white Marylanders into thinking 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 343 

Oden Bowie, who would become governor of 
Maryland, blamed emancipation for racial 
violence and the depressed economic con- 
dition of freedmen. (Maryland Historical 

that the peace and stability of their state, and particularly Baltimore City, stood 
imperilled by a new class of residents who respected neither the value of labor nor 
the necessity for law and order. Steeped in mid-nineteenth century beliefs about 
hard work and upward mobility, whites were shocked by the unemployment and 
poverty they saw vnthin the black community and were quick to ascribe such 
conditions to the moral shortcomings of its residents. Long accustomed to the 
presence of a stable free black population within the larger context of slavery, they 
were ill-equipped to recognize the implications of emancipation for both the city's 
traditional black community and rural blacks who were suddenly free to move in. 
What had developed over time into a carefully-crafted and defined relationship 
betwef n free blacks apd wjjjtes suddenly collapsed into confusion. 


1 . For general comments on violence as a factor during the Reconstruction period, see Edith 
Abbott, "The Civil War and the Crime Wave of 1 865-1 870," Social Services Review, 1 ( 1 929): 
212-34; RichardHofstadterandMichael Wallace, eds.,Af7jencaM Violence (New York: Vintage 
Books,1971),16,21 8-23; Herbert Shapiro, "Afro-American Responses to Race Violence dur- 
ing Reconstruction, Science and Society (Summer, 1972): 1 58-70; Richard Maxwell Brown, 
Strain of Violence: Historical Studies of American Violence and Vigilantism (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1975), 9, 23, 27—28: Howard N. Rabinowitz, Race Relations in the Urban 
South, 1865-1900 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 31-60; Leon F. Litwack,5ee« in 
the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), 231-80; 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Edward L.Ayers, Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the 19th Century American 
South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1 983), 14 1-84; George C. RaMe, But There Was No 
Peace: The Role of Violence in the Politics of Reconstruction (Athens: The University of Georgia 
Press, 1984); Herbert Shapiro, White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to 
Montgomery (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1988), 5-29; and Eric Foner, 
Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (New York: Harper &Row, 1988), 119-23. 
Understandably, many historians who discuss violence as a by-product of social and eco- 
nomic change focus on the Ku Klux Klan and other manifestations of organized southern 
white intimidation of rural blacks. See especially, Allen W. Trelease, White Terror: TheKu Klux 
Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), and Ted 
Tunnel], Crucible of Reconstruction: War, RaditeMsm, mdRace in Louisiana, 1862-1877 (Ba- 
ton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984), 185-202. 

2. For a general history of emancipation in Maryland, see Charles Wagandt, The Mighty 
Revolution: Negro Emancipation in Maryland, 1S62-1S64 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univer- 
sity Press, 1964), and Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, Thavolia Glymph, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie 
S.^o\A2Lndi,Freedom:ADocumentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Series 1, Volume 1, 
The Destruction of Slavery (Cambri<%e, Eng.: Cawbli^ University Press, 1985), 329-92. For 
a broader interpretation of the place of emancipation in nineteenth-century Maryland history, 
see Barbara Fields, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland in the Nineteenth 
Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 198S). For a discussion of white violence against 
rural blacks in Maryland, see Richard Paul Fuke, "The Baltimore Association for the Moral 
and Educational Improvement of the Colored People, 1864-1870," Maryland Historical Maga- 
zine, 66 (Winter lWf):3e§-^4,*iat*^ytenatfs, 1864-1^8,** (fh!D. diss., Unitersity of 
Chicago, 1973), 12 1-52, "Planters, Apprenticeship, and Forced Labor: The Black Family Un- 
der Pressure in Post-Emancipation Maiyland," Agricultural History, 62 (Fall 1988): 57-74; 
Fields, Siaverymd Freedom, 142-46; Ira Be*n,8t^enF.MiHer, Joseph P. Reidy, smdl^lieS. 
Rowhnd, Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Series 1, Volume 2, 
The Wartime Genesis o/Free labor (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 494, 

3. Before emancipation, slaves in Maryland had been denied the privilege of owning firearms 
and free blacks had been similarly restricted unless especially licensed by a county court. 
Section 73 of Article 66 of the Maryitod Code of Public General Laws stated that; "No free 
Negro shall be suffered to keep or carry a firelock of any kind, any miUtary weapon, or any 
powder or lead, without first obtaining a license from the court of the county or corporation 
in which he resides" Mar^and Code t^PtMk QenerdLaws [1860] (Baltimore: John Murphy 
and Company, 1860), 464. This situation changed in the spring of 1865, when the Unionist- 
dominated General Assembly erased most of Maryland's black code. Along with hundreds of 
other restrictions on the activities of bkdcs, kwraakers repealed Section 73 of Article 66. See 
Laws of the State of Maryland [ 1865] (Annapolis: Richard R Bayly, Printer, 1865), 305-7. As 
Governor Augustus W. Bradford explained, it was time for "modification in the terms of . . . 
[these laws] " and any other "alterations which the legislature might see fit to make" to facilitate 
the adjustment from slavery to freedom." See Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Del- 
egates, January Session, 1 865 (Annapolis: Richard P. Bayly, Printer, 1865), Document A: Message 
of Governor Bradford to the General Assembly of Maryland at the January Session, 1865 (An- 
napoHs: Richard R Bayly, 1865). 

4. John W. Blassingame, "The Recruitment of Negro Ttoops in Maryland," Maryland His- 
torical Mc^int, 58 (lf63): 20-29; S^fc@#« Ai^rkan, April 10, 1866; Howard K. Beale. 

Interracial Violence in Post-Emancipation Maryland 


ed.,The Diary of Gideon Welles (NewYork: W. W. Nertan and Company, 1960), 2:620. Union 
soldiers were permitted to purchase their muskets<^'4r-5^MaTS apiece. 

5. Beale, Diary of Gideon Welles, 2:620. 

6. For a discussion of the widespread availability of firearms in the United States at the time, 
see Michael A. Bellesiles, "The Origins of Gun Culture in the Unite#S6i|^ 1760-1 865," /owmai 
of American History, 83 (September 1996): 425-55. 

7. The War of the Rebeflion; A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and CoHfe&erate 
Armies (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893), Series 1, Volume 43, Part 2, 848. Roy 
P. Easier, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers Univer- 
sity Press, 1953-55), 6:530. 

8. The Congressional Globe, Cmtaining the Debates and Proceedings of the First Session of the 
Thirty-Ninth Congress [1865-66] (Washington: Co^resaonal Globe, 1866), 339. William L. 
VanDerlip to W. W, Rogers, July 1 1, 1866, Record G»tip 105, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, 
and Abandoned Lands, District of Maryland, Book Records, Volume 48, "Letters Sent, An- 
napolis, June 28, 1866 to March 13, 1868," National Archives, Washington, D.C. Hereafter, 
Bureau records will be fefeited to asfecwd Group 105, foHowed by pertinent dSsttict, volume, 
or box information. 

9. Charles A. Watkins to Oliver Otis Howard, March 13, 1866,RG 105, District of Columbia, 
Box Records, "Letters Received, Assistant Commissioner, September 1865 to October 27, 
1866." William L. VanDerlip to W. W. Rogers, July 28, 1866, Record Group 105, District of 
Maryland, Box Records, "Letters Received, Assistant Commissioner, April 1866 to August 
1868."William H. Wiegal to JcSinE.ttaton, September 24, 1866; RccordOfoup 105, District of 
Maryland, Book Records, Volume 3, "Letters Sent, Assistant Commissioner." 

10. Clipping from the St. Mary's Gazette enclosed in Seldon N. Clark to John Eaton Jr., August 
2 1 , 1 865, State Papers [ 1 865] , Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore Ga- 
zette, March 22, 1866 and June 27, 1867. 

11. Baltimore American, June 27, 1867; Baltimore Gazette, June 27 and July 25, 1867; Balti- 
more Sun, August 10, 1867. 

12. Baltimore Gazette, January 17, 1866. 

13. Ibid., March 22, 1866; H. R Jordan to Hugh L. Bond, May 21, 1866, Record Group 105, 
District of Mar^dand, Box Records, "Letters Received, Assistant Commissioner, April 1 866 to 

August 1868." 

14. Baltimore Sun, September 1, 3, 5, 8, 15, 18, 23, 25, October 20, 1866; Baltimore American, 
September i, 3, 5, 6, 8, 1 1, 12, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, October 19, 20, December 24, 1866; Baltimore 

Gazette, September 3, 14, 18, 26, 1866. 

15. Baltimore American, February9, 1866; Baltimore Gazette, February 14, 1866. 

16. Charles A. Watkins to Oliver Otis Howard, March 13, 1866, Record Group 105, District of 
Columbia, Box Records, "Letters Received, Assistant Commissioner, September 1865 to Octo- 
ber 27, 1866." 

17. George J. Stannard to Oliver Otis Howard, June 5, 1866, Record Group 105, District of 

Maryland, Book Records, Volume 3, "Letters Sent, Assistant Commissioner." 

18. 5a/Hmore Sm«, July 30, 1867;Baltimore American, August 1, 1867. 

19. SeldonN. Clarktcr]tohn Eaton Jr., August 21, 1865, State Papers [1865], Maryland State 
Archives, Annapolis, Maryland. 

20. Baltimore American, April 10, 1866 and January 16, 1867. 

21. Baltimore Gazette, December 3, IM^&Mtmre American, October 19, 1867. 

22. Ibid., January 21, 1865, February21, October 21, 1867. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

23. See Baltimore American, December 14, 15, 1865, May 10, 11, 1866, April 5, 7, 18, June 24, 
August 3, 5, 27, 1867; Baltimore Sun, December 15, li,-Ii6^M8qr 10, 1®, 17, Aaga^ 
27, 1867; Baltimore Gazette, May 10, 1866. 

24. Baltimore American, July 3, August 5, 26, 27, 1867, September 3, and October 18, 1867; 
Baltimore Gazette, July 3, September 3, October 18, 1867; Bs/hmiSi»i^te^'|l%5, AwfiifiSt 2f , 
September 2, 3, 5, October 18, 1867. 

25. BMtimoreAmerkan, Se^fr:Mr4,i1S67. 

26. Baltimore Gazette, May 10, August 18, 1866; Baltimore Sutt, Mtlf 1%, 1866; Baltimore 
American, May 10, 11, August 18, 1866. 

27. Baltimore American, October 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 29, 1^7 [Baltimore Sun, October 18, 19, 
2 1, 22, 26, 2f, ikfms^t%W^i Baltimore Gflzeti^-0eW*»^ 16, 19, 21, 22, 26, November 8, 

28. Baltimore American, October 18, 1«67. 

29. Ibid., October 19, 1867; Baltimore Gazette, October 18, 1 867. 

30. James M. Wright, The Free Negro in Maryland, 1634-1860 (New York: Columbia Univer- 
sity Press, 1921), H9-7i;lrz'Bei^n,Mm¥Mi0titM^rs: TheFreeNegro in fheAntebeHtm 
South (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974), 217-50; Fuke,"Black Marylanders," Chapter 6. 

31. Baltimore American, November 4, 1864. Woods' Baltimore City Directory, Ending Year 
1864 (Baltimore: John W.Woods, 1865>,4*3^; Woods' Baltimore City Directory, 1867-1868 
(Baltimore: John W.Woods, 1868), 564-626. 

32. Baltimore American, October 18, 1865. In December 1866 the Freedmen's Bureau re- 
ported that the city's black poptdatien badTlsen at least 20 percent above the 1860 U.S. census 
figure of 28,862. See Report by W. R. De Witt, Record Group 105, District of Maryland, "Letters 
Received, Assistant Commissioner, September 1865-October 27, 1866." That most of these 
new residents had arrived since emancipation seemed evident to the Baltimore American. In 
the two years since its previous issue, the city directory recorded an additional 3,400 black 
householders, most of whom had families. See Baltimore American, July 31, 1867. The United 
States Censuses of 1 860 and 1 870 further marked the impact of blacks' migrertioii to Baltimore 
especially from southern Maryland. The decade witnessed a dramatic shift in the black popu- 
lation of this part of the state as its numbers fell in every southern Maryland county but one. 
During the same period, Baltimore's black population grew by 1 1 ,660 people, an increase of 
unprecedented proportions. See United States Bureau of the Census, A Compendium of the 
Ninth Census (Washington, 1872), 10-11; United States Census Office, Population of the United 
Statesin 1870, CompObdfrom the Original Returns of the Ninth Census. . . (Washington, 1872), 
163; Jeffrey R. Brackett, Progress of the Cdtmd Peef^ inMnrylat^ Since the Ww^laltimore, 
1890), 25. 

33. Papers of the Friends Association in Aid of Freedmen, Maryland State Archives, Annapo- 
lis, Maryland. 

34. Baltimore American, February 7, 1865. 

35. Journal /^Proceedings of the First Branch City Council of Baltimore at the Sessions of 1864 
and 1865 (Baltimore: James Young, 1865), 57 (January4, 1865); Baltimore American, January 
5, 1 865; Baltimore Gazette, January 5, 1865; The Ore^ances of the Mayor and City Council of 
Baltimore, Passedntthe Session of 1866 (Baltimore: Ja«esTSsBi^, 1866), 353-54. 

36. Baltimore Sun, August 9, 1865; BMm&re Gazeue, June 2, 1865, and JiulyM, 1866;Ba/ti- 
more American, February 21, 1867. 

37. Report of the Visitors to the BaltinKtre^Hty fail, ]«rm&Tj 1865, January 1866, January 1867, 
January, 1868, January 1869, January 1870, Baltimore City Archives, Baltimore. 

38. Report of the Trustees for the Poor. January 1865, January 1866, January 1867, January 

Interracial Violence in PoM-^imcipation Marykmd 


1868, January 1869, January 1870, Baltimore City Archives, Baltimore. 

39. Woods' Baltimore City Directory, Ending Year 1864 (Baltimore: John W. Woods, 1865), 
443-84; Woods' Baltimore City Directory, J867-J868 (Baltimore: John W.Woods, 1868),564- 

40. Wright, The Free Negro, 149-74. 

41. Baltimore American, November 14, 1864. 

42. Baltimore American, December 28, 1864; Baltimore Gazette, December 29, 1864. 

43. Jeffrey R. Brackett, Progress of the Colored People Since the War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins 
Press, 1890), 29, 37; Record Group 101, Records of the Freedmen's Savinp and Trust Com- 
pany, Signature Book 713, National Archives., Washington, D. C. 

44. Baltimore American, December 29, 186A; Baltimore Gazette, December 29, 1864. 

45. Ibid., November 23, 1865. 

46. Ibid., February 5, 1866. 

47. Baltimore Sun, April 2, 1866, July 30, 1867; Baltimore American, August 1, 1867. 

48. Baltimore American.liovemheilS, 1865. 

49. Ibid., December 29, 1 865; Baltimore Sun, December 29, 1 865. 

50. Baltimore Gazette, September 27, 1865; Baltimote Sttn, September 27, 1865; Baltimore 
American, September 27, 1865. 

51. Baltimore American, September 28, 1865; Baltimore Gazette, September 28, 1865. 

52. BflWmoreSMw, October 2, 1865. 

53. Ibid., October 25, 1865. 

54. Bfl/timoreAwencfl/?, October 27, 28, \Bb5; Baltimore Gazette, October 28, 1865. 

55. Baltimore American,'iiovambei 8, 1865. 

56. Ibid., October 27 and November 6, 1865. 

57. New York Tribune, September 1, 1870. 

58. JatmesHiggins, A Succinct Exposition of the Industrial Resources and Agricultural Advan- 
tages of the State of Maryland (Annapolis: Henry A. Lucas, 1867), 90-91. For a discussion of the 
state of the Baltimore economy in the 1870s, see Fields, Slavery and Freedom, 169, 200-202. 

59. Baltimore American, November 23, 1864, aftdOct«%er 18, 1865. 

60. BflWmore Gazette, November 3, 1865. 

61 . Journal of Proceedings of the [Maryland] Senate, January Session, 1867 (Annapolis: Henry 
A. Lucas, 1 867) , Documeflt?: Report of the Committee on Labor and Immigration (Annapolis: ' 
Henry A. Lucas, 1867). 

62. Baltimore Gazette, November 3, 1865. 

63. Journal of the Proceedings of the First Branch City Council of Baltimore at the Sessiem^ 
1 866 (Baltimore: James Young, 1 866) , 646. , 



The City of Baltimore's bicentennial celebration continues, and in recognition 
of this important anniversary the Maryland Historical Society is pleased to present 
additional photographs from the 1880 Sesquicentennial collection. In an age of 
large public gatherings and manifest civic enthusiasm, Baltimoreans decorated 
their homes and businesses, marched by the thousands in parades, honored their 
heroes, and supported the festivities. 



Maryland Historical Magazine 

Maryland Historical Magazine 



Maryland Historical Magazine 




Maryland Historical Magazine 

The War Correspondents Memorial Arch on South Mountain. In the foreground is a monument to 
the First New Jersey Brigade, wkich0t$0iifii^$l0m's Gap in the Maryland C«npp|p,|||:||j52. 
(Photograph by the author.) 


Qne Man s Balljefidd: 

George Alfred Townsend and the 

War Correspondents Memorial Arch 


One day in October 1884, mamd ©f a lone carri^e abruptly broke the 
silence of Crampton's Gap in South Mountain. Holding the reins was a 
forty-three-year-old journalist and former war correspondent who had 
been touring the upper Potomac River valley in search of grist for his next novel. 
His labored ascent rewarded him with spectacular views of the Catoctin and 
Pk^ant valleys to either side of this lofty, forgotten battlefield. Twenty-two in- 
tervening winters had all but erased the last vestiges of wreckage, leaving litde to 
distract from the annual display of autumn color. 

Smitten by the beauty and seclusion of the place, this wandering tourist re- 
solved then and there to make it his own. To his surprise, while sketching the 
view from the eastern crossroad, he was engaged in conversation by a Dunker 
preacher.' The tourist inquired after the current land owner. "I first saw the land 
in Crampton's Gap, Friday, October 17, 1884, riding from Harper's Ferry in a 
buggy," he later recalled. "The next Moiiday, 20th, wrote to David Arnold inquir- 
ing the price. . . . Dec. 15th the deed was signed by Arnold and others and I 
received it December 18."^ So it was that twelve acres of the venerable gap be- 
came the private literary retreat of George Alfred Townsend (1841-1914), more 
widely known as "Gath": newspaper columnist, author, poet, and erstwhile his- 
torian. Few men have been as misunderstood or as misunderstanding. 

Townsend was born in rural Georgetown, Delaware, the son of an itinerant 
Methodist minister, and grew to manhood steeped in all the mystic trappings of 
the Delmarva peninsula. The boy well knew the Chesapeake region byway of his 
father's transient calling. By the time be «itwed his teens, his parents opted for a 
more sedentary life in Philadelphia, where George could obtain an education 
better than that available on the road. At school he quickly demonstrated a natu- 
ral flair for composition, and after graduation from the Philadelphia High School 
in 1860 be was appropriately ensomced in the offices of the Philadelphia In- 
quirer as a reporter.^ 

The Civil War summoned him to the field — ^but not in uniform. When con- 

Timothy J. Reese is an author, historian, and professional battlefield tour guide re- 
siding in Burkittsville, Maryland. 



Maryland Historical Magazine 

scripted, the budding journalist would somehow manage to scrape together 
$1,000 with which to purchase his exemption from military service. He served 
instead as a "special correspondent" for the New York Herald, a vocation admira- 
bly suited to his attributes and weaknesses. He accompanied the Army of the 
Potomac to the Virginia peninsula and into the Second Manassas campaign, but 
"ChickahominyfeYer"--^j^^^«ife&M «ii^itf w mter-bofne afflictioli^ tteit continu- 
ally plagued the armies — sharply curtailed his career. Historians and journalists 
have written that Townsend first became acquainted with Crampton's Gap im- 
mediately after Second Manassas, while reporting McClellan's campaign in Mary- 
land. In fact, he Was oM ftfe way out dP dottntry at the time.* ^eJ- reporting 
the battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862, he left the field and sailed for 
Europe the day newspapers heralded news from Antietam. This trip, ostensibly 
undertaken to regain his health, evolved into an extended lecture tour. He spoke 
frequently, drumming up support iaf dbe Uhkm cause, and not alwitfs before 
friendly aiwfiences. He further occupied himself by wrftrng for wrkws Irftish 
publications and seeing European capitals at his leisure. 

After twenty-two months he returned to Virginia, this time as a correspon- 
dent for the New York World. Through instinct and a measure of luck, he dra- 
matically scooped his newspftper ri¥tls by Miilg a breathless, exclusive account 
of the battle of Five Forks, last of the major eastern engagements, courtesy of a 
personal interview with General Philip Sheridan.' Brilliant prose prompted his 
editor to assign Townsend to the Lincoln funeral and later to the trial and execu- 
tion of the assaMination com^rm^fs. fkre hts name and reputation were sol- 
idly made. 

In 1865 Townsend married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Evans 
Rhodes, who would become his cherished "Bessie." The following year she ac- 
companied him on a return voyage to Europe where, as "Alf," he covered the 
Austro-Prussian War (Seven Weeki' War) for the World. Their first child, 
Genevieve, was born during their stay in Paris. With his star clearly rising, 
Townsend and his family returned home in 1 867, and as the vaunted war corre- 
spondent he toured the country enthralling audiences with lectures on the mo- 
mentous closing scenes of the Cfvil^te. 

From his Washington home Townsend began writing newspaper columns. 
Initially he wrote for the Chicago Tribune and Cincinnati Enquirer, but soon more 
than fifty papers carried his thoughts nationwide. He was not a syndicated col- 
umnist as that term is understood today — competing papers did not concur- 
rently publish identical o^umns. Ii^ead he wrote original pieces for every pub- 
lication receptive to his submissions, each ct^mn's content unique to its car- 
rier. Though no paper printed his columns more than twice a week on average, 
by today's standards the volume of his writing is astounding. His pithy dissec- 
tion of contemporary politics and current events was one reason for his popu- 

One Man's Battlefield 


larity; meanness was another. Measured against his contemporaries, he employed 
\diat today we kib«l'a» "attack journafenf'^ierailif'Fefoitin^ts mi(m- 
geous insinuation and even outright viciousness. These elements nevertheless 
appealed to his readers' appetites and won him more devotees than enemies. 
Their avid loyalty eventually made him wealthy and famous, but certainly not 

Dwrnf^this period he acquired his familiar pen name. Newspaper monikers 
were common during the war, and Townsend had grown weary of using his 
initials. Drawing upon his religious background, he added an "H" to "GAT," 
thereby invoking the MiiKstine city cited in II Samuel 1:20 — "Tell it not in Gath, 
publish it not in the streets of Asfel^wi," a solann reminder of how the mighty 
have fallen.* It first appeared in the Chicago Tribune of July 3, 1869, beneath a 
column in which Townsend ground one of his favorite axes, a comparison of 
postwar Virginia with fledgling West Virginia. Thousands would eventually rec- 
ognize the name "Gath" i«?Ml®wt ever knowing of George Alfred Towns^md. 

Townsend had already tried his hand at books, and there, too, he was suc- 
cessful. He had produced Campaigns of a Non-Combatant (1866), a summary of 
his wartime experiences, within a year of his marriage, and it remains to this day 
a fiKmiitirifwk fto fti[%d!^C'i0f#t@>«^ SeMd eom3[>eiiiaii ^f^edive of 
his so^mnm thi^^ followed, if ^ ike Hte«t ponderously tedinical of these was 
The New World Compared with the Old (1869), but it sold 80,000 copies to a 
nation hungry for knowledge of the world stage. 

A Man and His Mountain 

That same year a passing incident sowed the seeds of Gath's future obses- 
sion. On October 14, 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant — accompanied by Gen- 
eral William T. Sherman, various cabinet officials, dignitaries, and their ladies — 
took a weekend trip from Washington to Frederick, Maryland, and points west 
to view nearby battlefields. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad provided a luxuri- 
ous passenger car for Grant's use, and the former general received a hero's wel- 
come at the Frederick Agricultural Fair where some twenty thousand well-wish- 
ers had gathered for the occasion. The next morning the presidential party set 
off on the National Road to visit the Soldiers' Cemetery at Antietam, dedicated 
just two years earlier. Exuberant crowds dieted him at Middlrtown, Boomboro, 
and Keedysville. The party stopped briefly in Turner's Gap on the South Moun- 
tain battlefield where General Jacob Dolson Cox (now Grant's Secretary of the 
Interior) provided battlefield commentary on the ground over which he had led 
his Ohio troops. At the Antietam cemetery. Grant and Sherman were greeted 
with thunderous cheers and spreeches; then the two old soldiers reverently walked 
among the whitewashed headboards. At length the presidential entourage re- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

paired to its carriages amid more cheers and returned to Keedysville. A special 
train ww^^-neo ammf Q^mt'* party along t^ l^if^^oM ^incii -{^c^Iy 
built in 1867) through Pleasant Valley to the B&O main stem and the return trip 
to Washington.^ 

Though he had known ahead of time that the president had planned the 
excursion, Townsend, then the Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tri- 
bune, departed late and had to hurry to Frederick on the next train behind Grant's. 
At Frederick he rented a horse and trap and followed in Grant's wake along the 
National Pike. It soon became clear that Townsend was in no real hurry to see a 
president who was r^dily accessible in the capital; he was contest to collect 
presidential impressions from local residoits along the way. Like so many before 
him, Townsend was entranced by the region's pastoral beauty and thickly woven 
historical fabric. He arrived at Keedysville just as Grant's special train whistled 
out of the station, so he drove on to the cemetery for his own inspection. The 
next ck^he-cammlly pofed ^hmtt ^ 2^iet«ffl iMrttlefield ansd, on Ws-return trip 
to Frederick, looked into the fading scars the-mr had left at Turner's Gap. Upon 
his return to Washington, Townsend began to study the Maryland Campaign of 
1862, seeking to better understand the intricacies and events which at that time 
were wholly unfamiiiw to Mm. Kmamt odkmn — ^that with the seminai *H3&tii" 
signature — ^was a fluid thou^ somewfett c®ia*orted discourse on 'historic sites 
that made scant Feference to the president's itinerary. In that same column the 
heretofore obscure name of Crampton's Gap first appeared over his signature, 
though he had yet to visit or comprehend that secluded spot. 

By coincidence, Grant had visited Antietam the day preceding the tenth an- 
niversary of John Brow;n's raid on Harpers Ferry. Throughout his war years in 
Virginia as an adolescent reporter, Townsend surely had listened time and again 
to an arresting marching song widely popular with the troops — "John Brown's 
body lies a moldering in the grave . . — and he had doubtless wondered what 
caliber of man could have inspired such apparently universal inspiration. In fol- 
lowing Grant to Sharpsburg, he had entered Brown's theater of operations, a 
place where his fearful legacy still lay heavily on the land and where residents yet 
spoke of him with reverence, hatred, and fear. 

In November of that same y^r Qiriosity again beckoned Gath westward, 
this time to visit Harpers Ferry and Charles Town, He devoted three days to 
ferreting out details of the 1859 raid, examining the ground, and inquiring after 
the acts, words, and current whereabouts and condition of its principal players, 
be they alive or dead. Here too, Townsend made the unbreakable link between 
Brown and Lincoln, each in his way an emancipator, filing away in his mind all 
the intimate nuances of a perceived passion play. He returned to Washington a 
different man.' 

Townsend's quest had attained considerable momentum by the autumn of 

One Man's Battlefield 


1870, when he gave it uninhibited rein. For the second time he journeyed to 
Harpers Ferry, engaging a local black guide to aid him in even more closely 
tracking John Brov^rn's well-recorded footsteps. On this trip he studied the Mary- 
land side of the river — the railroad and canal, Sandy Hook, and the road wind- 
ing beneath Maryland Heights — before penetrating the narrow defile between 
Elk Ridge and Red Hill where innocently lay the Kennedy farmhouse, wherein 
Brown hid his men, collected arms, and laid his plans. 

While in the region he sought out David Hunter Strother — then living upriver 
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and formerly of General George B. McClellan's 
staff — ^who was writing and drawing for Harper's Weekly under the pseudonym 
"Porte Crayon," Allying witness to Brown's raid, Strother subsequently had made 
quite a hobby of it, and Townsend naturally wished to compare notes and study 
Strother's on-the-spot sketches. He found "Porte Crayon" to be "a gallant soldier 
of the Union" and, more importandy, a first-rate artist. Strother had "sketches of 
all Brown's party, drawn in various postures, at all the critical periods of the 
raid — ^with that nice characterization of which he is a master." He had sketched 
Brown's hostages, the militiamen who had rushed to the Ferry, "Jailer and Sher- 
iff, guardhouse and courtroom and scaffold." Townsend made a thorough ex- 
ploration of Harpers Ferry, Charles Town, and Winchester. Then, with his notes, 
he returned to Berkeley Springs and "puzzled how to make any consistent biog- 
raphy of the two sides of John Brown, his craziness and his deliberateness; his 
ragged band and their philanthropy; their ignorance and their heroism; their 
barbaric surprise of the peaceful town, and their lofty notion of a mountain 
republic, with predatory campaigns, school houses among the eagles, spoil and 
freedom, incendiarism and Christianity."' 

Back home, Gath penned one of the longest pieces of his career, five and 
one-half columns in length, which appeared in the Chicago Tribune of Decem- 
ber 27, 1870. It was a "re-stateOMit" or the raid as he now understood and sym- 
bolized it with no small measure of hero worship. He even contrived to compare 
Brown with John Wilkes Booth in counterpoint. The finished product reads like 
a preliminary draft for the maudlin novel he would eventually write linking 
Brown, Lincoln, and Booth in one grand, melodramatic scheme. One element 
remained. He bad yet to survey the site he had chosen for this epic drama: 
Crampton's Gap. 

Until the 1 880s, Gath largely restricted himself to the nonfiction side of writ- 
ing, with occasional forays into historical essays and a few attempts at poetry. 
Deeply impressed by the mysteries of the region — ambiguities but recently re- 
solved by war — Jje now attempted to convey his lessons via fiction. Predictably, 
he succumbed to a weakness common among those in his trade: his new-found 
wealth offered the opportunity to write the great American novel, or novels, 
which he envisioned along the lines of the popular "Waverley" series by Sir Walter 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

George Alfred Jewnsmd, "Gath," ^MhI^Os at the height of his fame. (Maryland State Archives, 

Scott. His first attempts at fiction embraced familiar subjects — Tales of the Chesa- 
peake (1880) and The Entailed Hat (1884) both unfolded on his native Eastern 
Shore — but at no time did he pause in his stream of newspaper columns. 
(Townsend was said to have written approjcimately fifty million words before 
his death.) 

While enjoying this seemingly endless string of modest successes, his fertile 
mind again turned to the stirring events of national upheaval he had lately re- 
ported to the public. His next novel would embrace the period fi-om John Brown's 
raid to the Lincoln assassination, with an incidental romance thrown in for color. 
His characters would frequent the sites in Maryland he wished to illustrate, though 
he personally had not seen them during the war. The tale would commence at 

Om Man 's Battl^dd 


Harpers Ferry and climax at Crampton's Gap and Antietam, which in his mind 
represented the symbolic reincarnation of Brown's righteous sword victoriously 
smiting the slaveholding legions and the springboard for Lincoln's Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation. He would eventually entitle the novel Katy ofCatoctin or the 
Chain-Breakers (1886) and thereby illustrate his tenuous grasp of ©wwts. 

4a^gh l^dti^fft^ilMB always insisted that he would never pen descriptions 
of places he had not viewed firsthand, and to that end he put whip to horse in 
the fall of 1 884, traveling the back roads for the third time to refresh his memory 
of Harpers Ferry. When satisfied with his observations there, he drove north- 
ward in the shadow of Hk Ki^gei»Mee more survey the Kennedy farmhouse 
where Brown had gathered his forces before descending on the imtt^ecting 
U.S. arsenal. After crossing Pleasant Valley, Townsend made his first ascent into 
Crampton's Gap — now inseparably associated in his mind with the Ferry — and 
in so dmng took the€T^ Jbeps mMtM^eiAent from the urban wockl €€ wMch 
he was so much a part. 

Among the more noteworthy facete of Gath's personality is the rudimen- 
tary, almost childlike simplicity with which he regarded his era. He admittedly 
began the war with an open mind but finished it lamenting his having "written 
so much at twenty-five, and yet to have only drifting convictions.""" Complex as 
war issues were, Townsend came to view them thr€«igh the eyes abolition- 
ist convert after the fact, as though he were nothing more than an impression- 
able youth susceptible to the victors' chronicle. Such adopted views led to a deep- 
seated hatred of soutbeciiars and- their thwarted attempt at independence. To 
him the Civil War wm Mttie more than a moral crusade to banish the iniquity of 
slavery (still a popular notion), an appealing concept given his devout upbring- 
ing. But it left him ill-prepared for the pitfalls of historical fiction. 

Less circumspect are conclusions Townsend drew from the outcome of the 
Crampton's Gap battle. His narrative contends that General William B. Franklin's 
Sixth Corps, spurred on by Lincoln's idealism, assaulted the Confederate force 
defending the gap with uncharacteristic alacrity though grossly outnumbered 
by a mountain-possessed foe, when the truth was actually quite the contrary. He 
revels in depicting a mountainside strewn with thousands of Rebel casualties, 
far in excess of actud Ix^es, but ine3q)Kcably ignores the battle's strategic rel- 
evance to Harpers Ferry and Antietam. Even with allowance for the fictional 
nature of Katy, his conclusions, though based on history, convey impressions to 
the reader that are almost always wrong. Such is the dubious by-product when 
history is used to bolster an adofted political bias. 

That was how Townsend saw the place upon his arrival the day following the 
John Brown anniversary. And no one would ever gainsay him because Crampton's 
Gap abided in primitive quietude, slumbering in blissful ignorance of its past 
importance, unknown and unseen %ff Use ims^ world. The ground was now his 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

to do with as he saw fit, and he wasted little time in transforming it, bending it to 
his purposes as the living embodiment of his epic novel. 

Gath's interest in the site coincided with a deeper personal need resulting 
from rapid advancement in his chosen career. By the 1880s, daily production of 
newspaper columns greatly curtailed his free time though fee r^dr^to ikM- 
tkm'R) tiaslen the ft-eieisii The hurly-burly life of a W«ii4i^le»i press f^esen- 
tative further distracted him. "The necessity of some place of retirement for even 
two or three days, while pursuing an extensive correspondence for the press . . . 
became apparent to me from the time I commenced to publish." In 1874 he 
moved to New York for an extended stay, "but the regular round of city prom- 
enades, dinners, clubs, bad weather and want of exercise and of original mate- 
rial" led him out of the city "every few weeks, often to places where my incentive 
had been the library." He returned to Washington because it was "the best center 
of iftfocBMlEicM in the countryf fe«i»iii#iirJis<»i «i^iCT restdeisee limt that "in 
summer and parts of autumn it was very hat and unrefr^iiig tai^ig the vital- 
ity out of a man." It was during this busy, restless, driven period of his life that he 
happened upon "an unoccupied spot in the South Mountain," six miles north of 
the Potomac in Maryland, "close enough to Washington to take breakfast [at] 
home and reach that city near 9 o'clock in the morning, or to stay all day in 
Washington and at 5:30 come home in^neicK' supper after dark. f«fo(thing dis- 
turbing was in the region; very little money was required to buy some ground in 
a gap which had stone and woods for building and for fuel." 

He called the place Qv^mi, "m ©rder not to give it any personality" and 
visited regukrly to refresh himsdf, it was more than a year before his 

family saw it. "To this place I added a little from time to time, members of my 
family making suggestions, and after four or five years of summer residence 
there, the family concluded that they had rather spend eight months in the coun- 
try than divide the year between the country and the city. That settled the matter 
of the city house. I now was a countryman, but with my foot loose to go any- 
where I chose." "The battlefield of Antietam is six or seven miles from me," he 
added proudly. "I live upon the field of action of Crampton's Gap, fought by the 
Sixth Corps in 1862 . . . three^Iays before ^itietam."" 

Townsend's acqukition of jQtwipton's Gap created a problem: He inten- 
tionally consolidated and preserved the upper battlefield in historical context, 
albeit with a personal slant, but his construction projects were grossly invasive 
to the more sensitive portions of the ground. Between 1885 and 1892 he erected 
five habitable buildings and a lice i»inber of support structures with all the 
appointments necessary to sustain himself year-round. He gave the houses win- 
some titles: "Askelon," "Gapland Hall," "Gapland Lodge," and "Mount Gath." Sig- 
nificant among these was the "Den and Library" complex, his inner sanctum, 
the creative crypt from which emanated his prolific stream of writing and re- 

One Man's Battlefield 


Map of'Gapland," Townsend's estate on South Mountain. (Courtesy of the author.) 

flection. These well-appointed precincts also housed his impressive trove of books, 
prints, statuary, bric-a-brac, and memorabilia, including souvenirs of the Harp- 
ers Ferry terrorist he so admired. 

Bessie and the family joined him in his mountaintop lair in 1886. They, their 
servants, governesses, and assorted attendants — not to mention periodic guests — 
constituted a thriving family compound. Had the veterans of Crampton's Gap 
visited the site they scarcely would have recognized the field and woods for which 
they had gambled their lives. Virtually the entire gap, from ridge to ridge, was 
overlaid with some Townsendian contrivance or provision. Allowing some sen- 
sitivity to the hallowed nature of his ground, Gath removed as few trees as pos- 
sible from the gap. Lower limbs were stripped away to enhance multi-direc- 
tmml views and to allow free play of the mountain air. All this eccentric splen- 
dor arose on the site of mortal combat. And though his displays enshrined a 
broad spectrum of historical figures, none held greater sway on Townsend's mind 
than John Brown. Had the bearded warrior made less of an impression, perhaps 
Gath would have pursued memorabilia more reflective of his battlefield home. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

A Monumental Obsession 

By 1892 "Gapland" had evolved into a private literary retreat spanning 110 
acres — the entire gap and a respectable portion of Whipp's Ravine at its eastern 
approach.'^ Crampton s Gap was undeniably Oath's, but something was yet miss- 
ing. Lord of his own private battlefield, Townsend watched with intense interest 
as Antietam grew into a battlefield park in 1890, blossoming with granite me- 
morials to its cotilbsttnts. Gettysburg also drew his attention — he styled it the 
"Westminster Abbey" of battlefields for its startling array of monuments.'^ As 
perhaps the sole living person aware of the gap's place in this cycle of remem- 
brance, aside from the aging veterans themselves, Gath chafed at the absence of 
a Crampton's Gap memorial, though his presence was a kind of symbolic com- 
memoration in its«tf. Earthy for the site grew ioio obsession. 

In 1893 the man who stood for the gap described his first modest effort at 
marking historic ground. Townsend erected "a guide post near [the] gate with 
arms of government blue and white cuffs carrying the Sixth Corps cross [which] 
names the environing conflicts of Kearly 31 years ago." This roadside landmark 
appears faintly in photos taken years later, a declarative beacon planted where 
passers-by would notice it.''' But diminutive signposts paled in Townsend's grow- 
ing imagination, guaranteeing that this was merely a foretaste of far greater things 
to come. Gath had become mi architectural hobbyist, divining his own novel 
habitat and the manner of its public presentation. 

In his battlefield romance with the monumental concept Townsend natu- 
rally turned to those who had actually fought the battle and was deeply disap- 
pointed when he "tried to have Franklin's Corps erect a monument" only to 
discover that "they were unorganized."'^ Hie Sixth Corps had undergone so many 
reorganizations since Franklin's time that it is little wonder that consensus could 
not be found among its former members. Neverthless, if the veterans of his battle- 
field would not erect their own memorial, he would act in their stead. His subse- 
quent attempts put in rndtitm Wtett^^lidlaei^MSie tht ctflntiination of Townsend's 
artistry in stone, aBseit with a grea*^ tilt«»d tbeme. 

He next turned to his wartime newspaper comrades, soliciting subscrip- 
tions for the construction of a memorial to war correspondents. Word quicldy 
spread through the network of editors and correspondents, and before long Gath 
had attained the money he initially thought the project would require. In time 
others not connected with the trade but foursquare behind the idea came for- 
ward to support it, including J. Pierpont Morgan, George M. Pullman, Joseph 
Pulitzer, Thomas A. Edison, and Lucretia Garfield (widow of another assassi- 
nated president), and numerous corporate sponsors, principally railroads and 
prominent newspapers. Each donor enthusiastically contributed $10 to $200, 
notable among these being a $25 remittance firom William B. Franklin, the vic- 
tor of Crampton's Gap." 

One Man's Battlefield 


The B&O Railroad passenger depot at Hagerstown, Maryland. While seated in his carriage, Townsend 
visually superimposed the driveway arch onto the fire station across the street in creating the design 
for his monumental arch at "Gapland." (Collection of Carroll F. Spitzer, Hagerstown Roundhouse 

With sufficient funds in hand, Townsend turned his attention to the 
monument's design. Inspiration comes from odd quarters at times, and that 
certainly was the case at Gapland. As a matter of routine Gath changed trains at 
Hagerstown, taking the Pleasant Valley branch to Gapland Station when com- 
muting to and from Washington. The B&O passenger depot at Hagerstown was 
a modest, single-story affair made of stone with a covered driveway to shelter 
passengers in their carriages. The driveway roof was supported by a horseshoe 
arch that Townsend in his frequent comings and goings came to admire. Across 
Summit Avenue from the depot stood the Antietam Fire Company Station No. 
2, newly built in 1895, its stonework rising on one side in a medieval-looking 
belltower. To this day one can visually superimpose the depot arch on the fire 
station facade and recreate a striking likeness to Townsend's design down to the 
last detail, exactly as he admittedly envisioned it.'^ As he raised additional fiinds, 
Townsend turned over these simple rudiments — ^via a crude sketch scrawled while 
in transit to Gapland Station — ^to the latest recruit to his cause, John L. Smith- 
meyer, lately employed by the architectural firm commissioned to design the 
new Library of Congress building. Smithmeyer brought the conception up to 
professional standards, but Townsend's embellishments brought it to life." 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

Antietam Fire Company Station No. 2. Hagerstown Fire Department. Built in 1 895, the facade inspired 
the design for the War Correspondents Memorial. The bell tower at left was rebuilt in 1921. (Photo by 

One Man's Battlefield 


The War Correspondents Memorial Arch under construction in the summer of 1896. "Askelon" house 
stands at left. (Maryland State Archives, SC 684.) 

Townsend chose the obvious site for his creation: squarely within the east- 
ern crossroad where it could be seen across the length and breadth of the Catoctin 
Valley, the spot where he had first stood to sketch the view in 1884. Building at 
the head of a steeply pitched ravine called for extraordinary measures. A plat- 
form had to be leveled and filled with five hundred cubic yards of stone and 
earth and revetted with stout dry walling. The monument itself was to stand on 
a three-foot concrete footing for stability, ten feet of its overall height under- 
ground. Its keystone weighed two tons." 

Now that the project was fairly under way, anticipation lent a festive air to 
the proceedings. Gath was of an inordinately commemorative mind, and he seems 
to have taken the inclination to excess in his building schedule. The day work 
began, January 30, happened to be his fifty- fifth birthday, in recognition of which 
he and Bessie entertained lavishly at their First Street, Washington townhouse.^" 
At Townsend's order, actual construction of the monument's superstructure 
began on April 14, the anniversary of the day Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater. 
Somehow he managed to ration the work so that completion would coincide 


Maryland Historkal Me^nne 

with the battle annivtrsary, September 14. His fourth and final commemorative 
date was reserved for the dedication. 

The completed War Correspondents Memorial Arch was a sight to behold, 
dominating all other Townsend creations in Crampton's Gap. Fundamentally a 
medieval wall, gate, and tower crowned with battlements, the monument startles 
the unprepared eye with a bewildering variety of symbolism applied to nearly 
every surface. The main horseshoe arch rises sbcteen feet and is lined in Hummels- 
town purple stone. Above this appear three Roman arches, nine by six feet, capped 
in light gray sandstone quarried on the Cedar Creek battlefield. These represent 
the three wartime news media: Description (written), Depiction (art), and Pho- 
tography. Townsend initially contemplated placing oversize busts of outstand- 
ing correspondents within these arches but abandoned the idea on contemplat- 
ing the jealousy that would surely follow. The arches are offset by two terra cotta 
horse heads. On either side of the main arch appear terra cotta representations 
of Electricity (at the time still a novel news conveyance via the telegraph) and 
Poetry. Beneath these are found plaques of like material bearing the words "Speed" 
and "Heed" in decorative lettering. 

Prominently set into a large niche in the tower rests a cast-zinc statue of the 
demigod Orpheus (often mistaken for Pan or Mercury) who, according to Greek 
mythology, was beloved of the Muses, keepers of the creative arts. With their aid, 
so the tale goes, Orpheus descended into the underworld to retrieve his departed 
wife — perhaps a tortured Townsend corollary to the dangers faced by combat 
reporters. A panel running the width of the wall beneath the three arches pro- 
claims "War Correspondents" in ornate brickwork. The less cluttered east wall, 
that facing the valley, displays two inset tablets bearing alphabetical lists of cor- 
respondents and artists. Including still others cited on the directory tablet (north 
face), a total of 157 newsmen are enshrined. Another tablet applied to the south 
face quotes noteworthy excerpts alluding to the reporting of warfarfe frbni bibli- 
cal times to the Victorian era.^' 

Crowning the south battlement opposite the tower was a gold weathervane 
depicting a quill pen shattering a Roman sword, a Townsend icon in itself Light- 
ning struck it in 1942, damaging it beyond repair, but the National Park Service 
replaced the original with a faithful replica, which in turn became the target of 
clandestine rifle practice until reluctantly taken down for preservation.^^ 

The entire monument measures fifty feet high by forty feet wide, dwarfing 
most of the battlefield monuments that preceded it elsewhere. A ten-foot flag- 
pole (now gone) added to i^s oVs'aM height. Stonework from a quarry on the 
Cedar Creek battlefield seems to suggest in a roundabout way Townsend's for- 
tunate association with Sheridan, master of that engagement. Horse heads im- 
ply the war correspondent's primary mode of transport, an inference reinforced 
by the liorseshoe arCh itsdf. Though nowhere specifically Stated, "Speed" and 

One Man's Battlefield 


Orpheus, the memorial's cast-zinc sentinel, who, according to Greek mythology, descended into the 
underworld to retrieve his lost wife. In 1987 vandals toppled him from his familiar niche, smashing 
himtopieceson theground. U.S. National Park Service officials contracted with Colonial WXam^mi^ 
technicians to affect repairs. He was reinstalled in May 1993. (Author's photograph.) 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

"Heed" seem to have been admonitions to writer and reader, words that still 
apply today. The gold weathervane proclaims Gath's strident philosophy — "The 
pen is mightier than the sword" — ^though it may also be taken to symbolize the 
blending of warfare and the written word. A Sixth Corps monument had been 
his original intent, and Townsend recalled the struggle for Crampton's Gap in 
one small, final touch — ^the cornerstone: "Sept. 14, '62- 96." 

Commemorative tablets on the monument bear the names of his wartime 
peers, many of whom went on to far greater achievements. Gath's imperfect 
method of collecting names missed quite a few who rightly should have been 
cited. North and South. But for those who were overlooked, the dedicatory in- 
scription fittingly summarizes their gifts to the ages: 


Townsend could not resist adding a sample of his awkward poetry to under- 
score the arch's monumental passages: 

0 wonderous youth; 
Through this grand ruth 
Runs my boy's life its thread. 

The General's fame, the battle's name, 
The rolls of maimed and dead 

1 hear, with my thrilled soul astir 
And lonely thoughts and fears 
To bind the conquering years, 

A battle ray through ages^pg^ 
A light to deeds sublime 
And flash the lustre of my day 
Down all the aisles of time. 

War Correspondents Ballad 1865 

The grand irony of Townsend's colossal testament to Civil War newsmen is 
the unavoidable fact that no member of the "Bohemian Brigade" was present at 
the battle of Crampton's Gap or immediately afterward. This perhaps explains 
to some degree why the engagement is so misunderstood and underrated. Had 
one or more of these otherwise ubiquitous gadflies been on hand, considerable 

One Man 's Battlefield 


explanation would have been in order on both sides of the firing line, and battle 
reports wotiMhtve ieed-qt»le differently. 

Now it only remained to gather in the faithful for the dedication ceremony, 
to be held on the last of Townsend's anniversaries, that of the John Brown raid. 
Friday, October 16, 1896, dawned clear and crisp, with the mountain in full au- 
tumn Miage, bright sunlight dappling Gaplai^ a«# *tfie slok lardh miting to 
receive fts«imKe*s. /Hn oversize Stars and Stripes billowed in theteee^ abNOVe it, 
visible for miles, as Gath's special train from Washington disgorged its holiday 
host far below. Townsend had arranged to have a bugler and drummer on hand — 
furnished from Washington Barracks courtesy of the secretary of war — and this 
pair of uniformed sentinels sto©d at attentioti before the arch to greet the 
governor's carriage with martial airs.^' 

At 3:30 P.M., when all had assembled near the arch, the informal ceremony 
unfolded, more like a gathering of friends than a rigid observance. Governor 
Lloyd Lowndes addressed the party with all due solemnity, but it was Gath they 
had com>e to hear, and he did not disappMt. Mrniy fervent ideas that had en- 
gaged his mind during his decade on the mountain now, as though built up to 
an intolerable degree, poured forth with cathartic force: 

Comra<k Correspondei»ts, Friends: Like the universe, this monument 
has evolved. Twenty years alfeerl^ war one of the army reporters, still 
entranced with the campaign themes of his boyhood, found his way 
to this naked spot as the scene of a conflict he desired to use in a ro- 
mance. Where he stopped and stood, an aj^rently unprofitafaie ar- 
rival to the laborers along the mountaiei side and the fiirniers in the 
valleys beneath him, now arises this memorial thirty-one years after 
the war. 

Its le^on to the neighbors around it is the profitaUeness of knowl- 
edge to any people, however they may undervalue these things. That 
uncommercial traveler found things to do: wells to strike, rocks to sub- 
due, men to enlist, roads to create. The busy human head is also a 
farm, an engine and a shop. 

Twelve years of pleasantrontemtion with nature and rusticity had 
multiplied objects in this old battle gap when . . . the apparition of this 
monument suddenly arose to the aging correspondent. 

This mountain sallyport was one of three lofty embrasures over- 
looking the Bannockburn of the war. As when [Robert the] Bruce, 
from Sterling Castle, looked down upon . . . "proud Edward's power, 
chains and slavery," there seemed to flash upon the late chronicler's 
visioja th« fkuning pen of Abraham Lincoln writing in these hills the 
proclamation of liberty. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

That president visited these battlefields, harangued the soldiery, 
spoke gently to the pri»o«ers, persuaded the geHRCiito«>Qt of their«dk- 
ing conservation and the vane upon this manument tells the sequel: 
"The pen is mightier than the sword." 

Till the close of November last, 1895, no project of this subject for 
a monument had ^Iin^ hmn. Its immediate v)«b lodfcnig «t 

the new government road between the lines at Antietam. The form of 
the monument sprang from admiration of some new stone structures 
at Hagerstown, an arch and a tower. Their cost seemed within the limit 
of encouragement whidi^*e ftien^ of the press might ^Etend to its 

Commencing work the 14th of April, the anniversary of Mr. 
Lincoln's [fatal assault] , we have in six months achieved our memorial 
and raise our flag upon it this thirty-seventh anniversary of the raid of 
John Brown from among these hills upon the arms and armorers at 
Harper's Ferry. Two anniversaries of wrath and blood, their order re- 
versed, span the birth of this trophy to men who peacefully recorded 
the war. . . . 

All who wrote and sketched the war are preserved here without 
discrimination. The movement of this fund has hardly aroused a com- 
ment; in two cases the desire was expressed by non-subscribers that 
Wi^ington Gty vms kftier ^tmtkm.'but flietoen is^o dung to 
Washington in the war expri^sei M die campa%ns and feats of the 

The feudal form of this gate shows American liberty as it was with 
garrison and vassal, its portd |^ych@d, jtAsm and flttiked with sentry 
towers, and overhead the warder on the batdemented walk. Here be- 
tween slave and free states ... the spot of this monument afforded 
almost the only prospect of the light of the valleys and of homes to 

otiT run«way ftfflow-beiBgs, iaka^ ikk uninhabited rk^ Amoflg 

these very ridges also hid the grizzly captain and his parti-colored band 
. . . and by night strode down to the armory below. Look westward 
through the notch of Solomon's Gap, where hardly five miles away 
Jckti firdwn b^gan the twtf! L&ck ^«St acro«s Catoctin range, but 
fourteen miles, where the chief justice lived and lies buried, who had 
announced the lasting rights of the old feudality! Look upon our monu- 
ment and see the star spangled banner, which Judge [Roger Brooke] 
Taney's brother-in^w {ftaads'So^ 9ief\ apostrc^iaed ovfsr Balti- 
more in 1814, and which JolMl"^i®wn declared was the flag of his fore- 
fathers and he would have no other. The bolted gate and portcullis are 
shattered. The arch stands open to the light. The mountain roads are 

Om Mm 's Batti^ield 


The arch photographed from the southeast on GaplandMmdat the timei^ ilsd?di€atien. To the right 
is "Askeloti" house. (Maryland State Archives.) 

Never before nor since was the activity of news and letters so much 
recognized by a government as in the great American war, and it is not 
with presumption, but after all the branches and particulars of the 
service have erected their trophies, that we unveil this, the only monu- 
ment in the world, to the reporters of a war.^'' 

At great length Townsend related the names and deeds of fellow correspon- 
dents who had risen to honorable stations in life. He then outlined his "war 
philosophy" — how the fourth estate had altered the war's prosecution by expos- 
ing military incompetence. For well over an hour he cited writers and artists 
within the context of wartime achievement. Throughout this journalistic ser- 
mon — probably the longest orati©n ,af life — hf sypol£f not one word on the 
battle for Crampton's Gap. 

Having spent himself, Gath offered the podium to any dignitaries moved to 
address the throng. Some seized the opportunity to recount their thrilling war 
experiences, but most declined with the assurance that writing, not speeches, 
was their strong suit. A fair proportion of those supportive of the project were 
unable to attend for one reason or another but forwarded letters of greeting, 
twenty-five of which were read to the audience, including a letter of congratula- 
tion from William i. Franklin. Army mwf piiujctu«t^ the speeches with 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

well-known melodies. As the shadows lengthened, the wife of Washington Evening 
Star editor Crosby S. Noyes sang a haunting rendition of "Tenting Tonight on 
the Old Campground," and with her last plaintive notes the ceremonies closed 
as casually as they had begun. Bessie provided lunch and dinner for the multi- 
tude, the latter meal served in the Den while Gath recited selections from his 

By weekend's close Gapland was back to normal with a new monument si- 
lently standing vigil. For Townsend routine newspaper writing must have been 
anticlimactic after the festivities, but he returned to work with a will. He had 
reached the zenith of his fame. In 1899 he was nominated for the post of Librar- 
ian of Congress, an ideal end to a career one would think, but he was passed 
over, probably because he lacked sufficient political connections. The incident 
apparently caused not a ripple in his fast-flowing life.^' 

As a new century dawned, it never occurred to him that his estate and the 
arch had smothered out of existence the very event he first intended to com- 
memorate. But the battlefield builders were still busy at Sharpsburg. In 1903 
New Jersey appropriated hands for a state monument and several smaller mark- 
ers to denote ground occupied by the First New Jersey Brigade on the Antietam 
field. One marker was reserved for Crampton's Gap, where the Jerseymen had 
truly made an indelible mark, and when approached by the state committee, 
Townsend tendered a site squarely in front of the arch, as though uncomfortably 
reminded of his altered objective. To this day it seems disproportionate — that 
such a small brigade marker is so dramatically overshadowed by a gigantic monu- 
ment to the glory of men who never reported the Jerseymen's exploits, save what 
they gleaned second-hand. Clearly, not all the arch's symbolism was intentional.^* 

Be that as it may, Gath had suddenly ceased preoccupation with such things. 
On May 30, 1903, Bessie Townsend, Townsend's soulmate and Gapland hostess, 
passed away at their Washington hi«tte at the age of sixty-one and was buried 
near her family in Laurel HiU Cemetery, Philadelphia," Her tombstone reads: 
"Beautiful, O My Love!" Her death shook Gath's imaginative world to its foun- 
dations and transformed him into a semi-invalid. In her absence life at Gapland 
dwindled to bare essentials. Townsend himself suffered from diabetes exacer- 
bated by overwork, precluding his assumption of her former duties. Gapland 
Hall, their cheery warm-weather home, was closed, a place into which Gath now 
rarely ventured. He restricted his increasingly insular activities to the Den, where 
he could work year-round. Little by little the intricate Gapland fabric began to 
unravel. On September 22, l'^4, 'ro#nsend deeded the triangular, twenty-eight- 
square-perdi lot surrounding the arch to the United States "in consideration of 
perpetual care and preservation," tacitly admitting his inability to guarantee its 
future.^^ In so doing he relinquished the first portion of Gapland since its acqui- 
sition. Visitors came less frequently, but he contirmed writing. 

One Man's Battlefield 


George Alfred Townsend's bookplate. (Author's 

Late in the summer of 1907 a Baltimore Sun reporter journeyed to Gapland 
to look in on Townsend and to belatedly publicize the arch and its mountain 
hideaway. Noting a "No Admittance" sign at the front gate, he nevertheless found 
within the traditionally warm Gapland welcome. Townsend answered every ques- 
tion put to him, perhaps with heightened reflection now that Bessie was gone. 
The reporter stepped into deserted Gapland Hall, marveling at Gath's flair for 
decoration, and returned to the Den somewhat saddened by the air of decline 
apparent in the author and his creations. Since Bessie's death, Gath had stoically 
maintained a brave front to stave off the grief that would never really leave him, 
searching in vain for a personal version of the Orpheus legend. He burrowed 
ever deeper into his writing, which was all that mattered now. And so the Sun 
reporter departed, leaving him to his endless task, satisfied that the journalists' 
hero was safely tucked away on South Mountain, out of harm's way, where all 
might emulate and worship him." 

Two years later another reporter, this one representing the Washington Evening 
Star, scaled the mountain to inform Gath that he had become the "dean of the 
cloth" upon the death of the Washington press corps' senior member. By now 
Gath had grown into a fascinating anachronism to those of his trade. The Star 
reporter, logically eager to place the crown on Gath's head, found himself in awe 


Maryland HMorical Magazine 

oi the man and his monument and extolled the venerable scribe to a new gen- 
eration of readers. It was the last interview Gath ever gave.'" 

Having buried his grief in obsessive writing, Townsend neglected his finances 
and, for the first time in his life, found himself pressed for money to feed the 
ravenous demands of Gapland's upkeep. In 1909 he resorted to the unthinkable 
and^M Im te§e»ctef Mteirf *t auction.^' Illness drove him from the mountain 
for the last time in the summer of 191 1. He stayed with his daughter, Genevieve, 
and her husband, Edmund C. Bonaventure, at their New York City residence, 
incredibly churning out prose and poetry despite his physical discomfort. In late 
August he returned to WwfcittglOft, ^nly trying to reclaim Hs-^ existence, 
and was almost immediately hospitalized with "diabetes toes." While bedridden 
he continued to dash off historical verse descriptive of his native Delaware. Prob- 
ably at Genevieve's urging, he returned to New York and was admitted to March 
Hospital for a thorough rest. By January 1912 he was back at Genevieve's home 
closing out several woriss |wior t© publication." 

Despite envisioning his own demise, Gath's work had become an end unto 
itself, as though the riot of image and conception crashing about his overstuffed 
brain demanded to be put on paper before being lost forever. Rallying under 
Genevieve's attentive care, he had no sooner cleared his backlog of projects when 
he dove into his personal memoirs, a daunting task considering the breadth of 
his experience. His newspaper column had long since made way for a new breed 
of newsmen, gifted far beyond Gath's antiquated, discursive style. In blissful self- 
absorption he lamented: "I hardly understand why I am not still wanted." 

On a small scrap of paper, Townsend scrawled what is probably the last poem 
he ever wrote before the well-worn, honorable pen fell from his weary hand: 

At 73 

My last days slowly go 
I would not have them stay 
All that is past J know 
This evening of day. 
I had a long strong romp 
And am tired ofpiay 
Of playing fame and pomp 
And feel I am but day. 
Come dark and damp and sod: 
Humility is God. 
Feb. 1, 1914 

It must have been diflScult for Gcne^eve to watch her father Mowly work 

One Man 's Battlefield 


himself to death, but when had anyone been able to dissuade the headstrong 
Gath from his labors? Predictably he took a turn for the worse and died quietly 
in his sleep on April 15, 1914. The cause of death was listed as general debility.^'* 
He had died on the forty-ninth anniversary of Lincoln's death, and he was laid 
to rest beside his beloved Bessie, contrary to his longstanding wish to be buried 
at Gapland. The pen name "GATH" appears prominently on his monument 
which, in recent years, has been violently vandalized. Oath's memoirs went un- 
finished, and high in Crampton's Gap his Den stood cold, dark, and deserted on 
the mountainside, never again to see its creator cross the threshold. Though the 
Townsend epoch was at an end, his memorial arch remained behind in what is 
now Gathland State Park as a silent reminder to succeeding generations of the 
man and his reverence for a forgotten historic site. It still mutely stands, a puz- 
zling ambiguity to all who survey it, prompting the same repeated questions 
about a man, a battlefield, and how well we remember them. 

In October 1996, the memorial's centennial year, crowds again gathered 
around Townsend's soaring colossus to honor the man who honored the battle- 
field, the same man who inadvertently smothered it through years of scholarly 
neglect — an immutable statement in stone signifying a pivotal battleground and 
a shrine to Civil War journalism. Townsend and his monument — each uniquely 
one of a ik^ . 

Remembering the Dead 

Townsend compiled his roll of war correspondents and artists from memory 
and word of mouth, which resulted in an incomplete listing. Several names are 
misspelled; many have initials substituted for first names. Though the following 
rolls were transcribed from the tablets in verbatim order, first names are given 
where known to more accurately reflect those memorialized for the permanent 
record. The identities of some are lost to the ages. 

Transcripts of Memorial Tablets, War Correspondents Arch: Directory of Army 
Correspondents Memorial [asterisk denotes names not found on main tablets] 

Governor Lloyd Lowndes 
George Alfred Townsend 
John Hay 

Richard C. McCormick 
Edmund C. Stedman 
Henry Watterson 
Joseph B. McCidlagh 
Crosby S. Noyes 

Nathaniel Paige 

Edward W. Mealey 

John L. Smithmeyer, Architect 

James Henri Browne 

*James Elverson 

^Francis H. Richardson 

*Vlrfor Lawson 

*Jakn G. Moore 

"^Daniel Houser 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

War Correspondents Arch from Whipp's Ravine, where itwasamountaintop beacon visible throughout 
the Catoctin Valley before trees obscured it from view. (Author's photograph.) 

Man's Battlefield 

Army Artists [20] 
/. A. Becker 
Thomas F. Beard 
S. E. H. Banwill 
S. S. Davis 
Frederick Dielman 

G. Ellsbury 
S. Fox 

C. E. Hillen 
E. B. Hough 
J. R Laycock 

Southern [9] 
Peter W. Alexander 
Durant Daponte 
Felix G. DeFontaine 
Donelson C. Jenkins 
George W. Olney 

Artists [16] 
Matthew B. Brady 

W. T. Crane 
Felix O. C. Darley 
Theodore R. Davis 
Edwin Forbes 
J. S. Jewett 
Henry Lovie 
Arthur Lumley 

Army Cc^Ke^oodents [107] 

Finley Anderson 
James N. Ashley 
Adam Badeau 
T Barnard 
George W. Beaman 
Henry Bentley 
William D. Bickham 
Albert H. B@dman 
George C. Bower 

H. N. Boynton 
James H. Browne 

H. Bensanm 
A. Berghaus 
A. McCullum 
W. B. McComas 
E. F. Mullen 
Fred B. Schell 
William L. Sheppard 
J. S. Trexler 
G. F. Williams 
William Wmd 

George Perry 
James B. Sener 
William G. Shepardson 
Henry Watterson 

F. H. Mmon 
Larkin G. Mead 
Henry Mosler 
Frank H. Schell 
David H. Strother 
Alfred R. Waud 
Henry Vizitelly 
James E. Taylor 

Thomas M. Cook 
Edward Cropsey 
F. Crieghton 
Lorenzo L. Crounse 
E. Cuthbert 
Nathaniel Davidson 
William E. Davis 
Edwin F. Denyse 
John P. Dunn 
B. D. M. Eaton 
Charles H. Farrell 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

SolotHOTi T. Bulklcy 

James C. Fitzpatrick 

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John E. Hayes 

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Leonard A. Hendticks 

Arthur P. Henry 

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Frstnh Henry 

Henry J. Raymond 

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Nathaniel Paige 

J. S. Ward 

Uriah H. Painter 

Sam Ward 

Comte de Paris 

F. Watson 

A. Paul 

E. D. V^s^ 

Edward A. Paul 

Franc B. Wilkie 

One Man's Battlefield 



1. W. R. Hamilton, "A Famous Author's Home in the South Mountains: George Alfred 
Townsend's Beautiful Retreat at Crampton's Gap," Baltimore Sun, August 25, 1907. Based on 
an interview, this is the most specific personal account of Townsend's first visit to the site. 

2. An original statement then in the possession of Townsend's grandson, George Alfred 
Bonaventure, cited in Ruthanna Hindes, George Alfred Townsend: One of Delaware's Out- 
standing Writers (Wilmington: Hambleton Printing & Publishing Company, 1946), 35. The 
deed is recorded in Frederick County Land Records, Liber GB086, Folio 503. 

3. Hindes, George Alfred Townsend, 1 7. Townsend graduated with the modern equivalent of 
a bachelor's degree. Several of his school compositions are extant. 

4. Ibid., 20; Townsend, Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, and his Romaunt Abroad During 
the War (New York: Blelock & Company, 1866), 277-79. 

5. George Alfred Townsend, "The Battle of Five Forks," New York World, April 4, 1 865. It is 
worth noting that Townsend came upon Sheridan in camp the night following the battle 
when the latter had cooled off a bit after his scathing removal of one of his commanders. 
Decidedly apologetic for his violent outbursts, Sheridan was by then sufficiently calm to 
discuss the day's events with a newspaper correspondent, ordinarily an unrivaled source of 
irritation, a lucky stroke for Townsend. 

6. Hindes, George Alfred Townsend, 29-30. Like other correspondents, Townsend used sev- 
eral pen names before settling on "Oath" — in his case twenty or more, including "Swede," 
"Johnny 3oviquet," and an appsff^nt fiivorite, "Laertes." 

7. Wa'shtngton 'Si'ening Star, October 15 and 16, 1§69. 

8. Chicago Tribune, November 15, 1869. 

9. Ibid., December 27, 1870. Townsend, who never tired of dancing on the Confederacy's 
grave, had earlier lauded Strother in his Chicago Tribune column of July 3, 1869, the first 
signed "GATH," in which he indulged a favorite pastime, namely, the exultation of loyalist 
West Virginia at the expense of secessionist Virginia. Gath rarely missed an opportunity to 
elevate Virginia's loyal sons and praised Strother (1816-88), a native Virginian who had 
served the Union and who, incidentally, had adopted Townsend's profession. In Strother 
Townsend found the ideal combination of background and interest to feed his own growing 
obsession with the raid, someone who could fiirnish the requisite detail as Towisend in- 
vented a largely fictitious narrative. 

10. Townsend, Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, 367. 

1 1 . George Alfred Tovmsend, "GATH, Talks About His Den," Cincinnati Enquirer, Septem- 
ber 24, 1891. 

1 2. A full citation of "Gapland" land conveyances, 1 884-90, can be found in Frederick County 
Land Records, Liber JGW260, Folio 395, wherein all earlier acquisitions are cited. Lands 
were purchased from David Arnold, JosephE. Clj^gett, Manasses J. Grove, John Violet, David 
L. Smith, Ezra Williard, Eliza Smith and David M. Whipp. 

1 :^ . George Alfred Townsend, "Western Maryland," Middletown Valley Register, January 10,1896. 
14. George Alfred Townsend, "Home of Gath," April ?, 1893, Townsend Family Papers, 
Rasmussen Collection. This is another of Gath's descriptions of the estate giving details not 
found elsewhere. The author extends special thaniss to Mrs. Dorothy (Bonaventure) 
Rasmussen of San Luis Obispo, California, for generously providing copies of rare docu- 
ments in her collection. She is the great-granddaughter of George Alfred Townsend and 
keeper of his memorabilia. 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

1 5. Memoirs of George Alfred Townsend (unfinished), Tovmsend Family Papers, Rasmussen 

16. "A Memorial to War Correspondents," Washington Evening Star, October 16, 1896. 
Though it did not cover all aspects of the ceremonies, this article — probably written by 
Editor Crosby S. Noyes, who was in attendance — is by far the most extensive and detailed 
newspaper account of the event. Judging by the content of this and other reports, it is clear 
that Townsend furnished hefty press releases to all regional newspapers, for many reports 
are virtually the same. 

17. Hamilton, "A Famous Author's Home in the South Mountains." The B&O passenger 
depot at Hagerstown was razed in 1980 to make way for the new headquarters of the 
Hagerstown Herald-Mail at the corner of Summit Avenue and Antietam Street. Somehow it 
seems fitting that a newspaper would replace the depot, despite the loss to posterity. 

18. George Alfred Townsend Papers, Maryland State Archives, Group 60, contains all pa- 
pers relative to the arch's inception and erection including a blueprint of Smithmeyer's final 
design. In 1873 Smithmeyer joined forces with another noted architect, Paul Johannes Pelz, 
in submitting a competitive design proposal for the new Library of Congress building. Al- 
though they won first prize, and Smithmeyer was appointed project architect, work lan- 
guished through a decade of political boondoggle. "When Smithmeyer refused to accept the 
substitution of a cement which he cortsidfercd ittferior to what had been specified, the con- 
tractor succeeded in having Congress abolish the commission." See the National Cyclopedia 
of American Biography, 25:424, and Dictionary of American Biography, 14:41 1-12. Smithmeyer 
was out of a job, though much of his design was retained. He and Pelz then went on to other, 
less time-consuming projects, allowing ample time for Townsend's comparatively modest 

19. "The South Mountain Memorial," Mirfrf/efown Valley Register, January31, 1896; "AMe- 
morial to War Correspondents," Washington Evening Star, October 16, 1896. 

20. "Mr. Townsend's Birthday Celebrated," Middletown Valley Register, February 7, 1896. 

2 1 . Because of the arch's complexity, many inaccurate or misleading descriptions have ap- 
peared in print in attempting to define Townsend's embellishments. Some errors crept into 
Ruthanna Hindes's otherwise definitive narrative. See Hindes, George Alfred Townsend, 45- 
46. 1 have used all primary sources, scrupulously comparing them to the arch itself with the 
intention of clarifying many popular myths. 

22. Historic Structures Report, Antietam National Battlefield Site, U.S. National Park Ser- 
vice, May 18, 1961, copy in Western Maryland Room, Hagerstown Free Library. 

23. Townsend to Secretary of War, September 25, 1896, A.G.O. to Townsend, October 2, 
1896, and A.G.O. to Commanding General, Department of the East, October 2, 1896, Docu- 
ment File, Box 33 1, Record Group 94, Office of the Adjutant General, U.S. National Archives 
and Records Administration. Middletown Valley Register, October 23, 1896. 

24. "A Memorial to War Correspondents," Washington EveningStar, October 16, 1896, gives 
a generous but nevertheless edited transcript of Townsend's speech. 

25. Hindes, George Alfred Townsend, 47. Relentlessly pursuing his point, Townsend again 
visited Charles Town, West Virginia, and the Maryland counties south of Washington, D.C., 
gathering hearsay evidence to support his tenuous connection betvreen John Brown and 
John Wilkes Booth, the mainstay theme of Katy of Catoctin. Conclusions appear in his regu- 
lar column in the Cincinnati Enquirer for October 18, 1896, two days after the dedication 
ceremony at "Gapknd." 

26. Winfield S. Price to John C. O'Connell, April 20, 1934, Reference Collection, Antietam 
National Battlefield. 

One Man's Battlefield 


27. Washington Evening Star, May 30, 1 903; New York Times, May 3 1 , 1 903. 

28. Liber STH267, Folio 367, Frederick County Land Records. 

29. Hamilton, "A Famous Author's House in the South Mountains." 

30. "Savoyard," "Dean of the Cloth," Washington Evening Star, February 26, 191 1. 

3 1 . Catalogue of the Valuable Private Library of George Alfred Townsend, "Gath," The Special 
Correspfiti4eut and Author of Gapland, Md., and Washington, D.C. [auction sale pamphlet] 
(Boston: C.'F.Xibbie& Co., Auctioneers and Appraisers, 646 Washington St., 1909). Many of 
Gath's prized books were given to old friends as tokens of affection. 

32. Hindes, George Alfred Townsend, 62-66. 

33. Townsend Family Papers, Rasmussen Collection. 

34. Hindes, George Alfred Townsend, 47; "Obituary: George Alfred Townsend," New York 
Evening Post, April 16, 1914^ "G, A. Townsend, Journalist, Dead," New York Times, same date. 


Book Reviews 

Freedom's Port: The African American Community of Baltimore, 1790-1860. By 
Christopher Phillips. Blacks in the New World. (Urbana: University of Illinois 
Press, 1997. 376 pages. Notes, index. $60 cIothj|2 1.95 paper.) 

By 1860 Baltimore was the third largest city in the tJraited, States, trailing 
only New York and Philadelphia. The city's growth proved nothing short of as- 
tounding; only a century earlier it had been but a crude hamlet struggling to 
find an identity. Although third in size, the city boasted the largest African -Ameri- 
can community in the United States — almost 27,000 — of which more than 90 
percent were free. In eight chapters and a poignant conclusion, Christ<^h«r 
Phillips's Freedom's Port chronicles the remarkable evolution of Baltimore and 
provides the first book-length account of the city's antebellum urban black popu- 

Phillips, author of Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon ( 1 990), 
describes how Baltimore's urban black population evolved from a combination 
of transient individuals, many of whom were recently freed, to a vibrant, pre- 
dominantly free commtinity plagued less by class and intraracial divisions than 
those of other comparable cities, such as Philadelphia, Charleston, and New 
Orleans. He argues that local and community conditions, including demographic 
makeup, social construct, gender roles, family structures, and occupations evolved 
collectively in a city often impacted by broader political, social, and economic 

Before 1830, Baltimore offered wonderful opportunities for slaves and free 
blacks alike. A prosperous economy allowed the city's black population to move 
into an wide array of jobs and to secure a degree of independence. The eco- 
nomic downturn of the 1 830s and a heigh^ed sense of racism, however, greatly 
threatened their position on the tower rang of the city's ladder. Baltimore's Afi-i- 
can Americans developed churches, schools, fraternal organizations, benevolent 
associations, and other social self-help institutions to preserve their freedoms. 
In fact, while the diversity of the city's black organizations indicated a structural 
maturity within the community, it also simukaneoflsiy demonstrated a serious 
cleavage in the city's social fabric, similar to that in con^rable black urban 
communities. Fortunately for Baltimore, the division occurred later and was 
less divisive. Nonetheless, these corporate entities helped to clarify individual 
and community identities. They also served to d^ne relations with whites of 
the same economic level. Most in^ortantly, as Phillips maintains, during times 
of crisis such organizations protected their hard-won societal privileges from a 

Book Reviews 


once-liberal white leadership. Baltimore's African Americans had forged a uni- 
fied, although diverse, community. 

As the antebellum period progressed, the ideological climate in Maryland 
made it almost impossible for African Americans to escape their enslavement. 
By the 1850s white hostility and racial intolerance threatened to i»*HilB*e aH of 
MH^9te^iciiibiie||raiK.--^liiiough the city's black i^i^p<(MiM' to the 

attacks by bonding together, and in the process created a racial identity and 
solidarity that provided the political muscle to overcome the hardships, the fu- 
ture appeared dim at best. During the decade Baltimore's free Negro population 
increased bf <Mlly 1 fimmtim ^^fip^H^fe »41 percent growth during the 1 840s. 
Meanwhile, the nansfoer of slaves decreased, while the white population increased 
by a third. Compounding the dilemma, an increasing number of poor Euro- 
pean immigrants competed with the city's free Negro population for the few 
t^^«b>kfi^.#ii'te3ie vofiU 'li^ ^ mmmm-i. ^ils hnran for Mufyknd's 

Phillips's work, which contributes to the thesis that the American notion of 
race is an ideological construct based in historical — and in this case economic — 
circumstances, uses Baltimore's black population to demonstrate that the south- 
ern commitment to white soprenmGy was not unwaverkig. It was only after the 
city's African -American populatiw^tiatured and appeared as a threat did white 
Marylanders turn against them. 

This insightful, thoroughly researched, and comprehensive study offers a 
compelling argument that deserves notice ftmn '^dscfefs and general readers 
alike. An important ©aiftribution to the historical Hl®t«feai« of slaver^ and the 
urban experience, it will undoubtedly join others, notably Gary Nash's Forging 
Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840, as a most 
significant work. 

Gene A. Smith 
Texas Christian Umversity 

The Chief Justiceship of John Marshall, 1801-1835. By Herbert Johnson. 
(Columbia: Umversity of South Carolina Press, 1997. 352 pages. Appendices, 
table of cases, index. $39.95.) 

This thorough and scholarly study of the great formative era of American 
cmistitirtional law comprises *f«ft erf a new serfes on #i« history of the Supreme 
Court under the general editorship of Professor Johnson, Ernest Hollings Pro- 
fessor of Law at the University of South Carolina Law School, former editor of 
The Papers of John Marshall, and a past president of the American Society for 
Legal History. Other volumes in the series published so far cover the Court be- 
fore Marshall's accession, the chief jsstkeship of Melville Fuller (1888-1910), 


Maryland Historiml Magazine 

and the Court under chief justices Harlan Fiske Stone and Fred Vinson. 

As this volume demonstrates, the series will be enormously useful to readers 
who want more than popularized accounts of our legal past but are daunted by 
the massive, if definitive, volumes of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History 
of the Supreme Ctmrt, to which Professor Johnson, along wiA<5et»g(6 Hasfcins, 
contributed a study of the period 1801-15 totaling nearly seven hundred pages. 

The Chief Justiceship of John Marshall is not always easy going, but attention 
to its threads of argument yields rich fruits. Johnson provides careful analysis of 
the major Marshall Court decisions, two of which, we should note, are McCuUoch 
V. Maryland and Brown v. Marykmd. The book also assesses the shifting and 
often treacherous political climate that conditioned these enunciations of con- 
stitutional doctrine and casts as much light as limited documentation allows us 
to cast on the inner workings of the Marshall Court. 

But Professor fsfefwiwi is not •cmitcirt manely to travel this main road, as 
many studies are. Drawii^ on his unsurpassed knowledge of the period, he goes 
thoroughly into other areas of the law, besides constitutional, shaped by Marshall 
and his colleagues. There are extensive sections on admiralty law, commercial 
law, and real property. An entire chapter is devoted to international law. 

Even better perhaps, Johnsen frm us a fascinating picture (replete with 
statistical tables) of the laborious but essential work the justices performed while 
"riding circuit." Separate circuit courts of appeal were established in this coun- 
try only in 1891, and until that time the justices of the Supreme Court served as 
circuit judges in the geographic areas assigned to them (in MarshalFs case, Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina). TheM, fi^y teiUned with federal district judges to 
hold trials. This unappetizing duty caused several of the early appointees to the 
Court to resign, and, as Johnson notes, was instrumental in former Chief Justice 
John Jay's decision in 1801 to pass up the appointmait that werrt to Masshdl. 
Yet in that earlier period, ui^ia; generations to follow, circuit court duty brought 
members of the Supreme Court "into contact with the grass roots of American 
life" (137). 

One might quibble with some aspects of the book's organization. Johnson 
chooses to Separate the material in chapter two discussing "Politics and the Con- 
stitution in the Marshall Era" from the detailed discussion of constitutional and 
circuit court developments found in chapters four through six. This has its ad- 
vantages, but it feeds a bit of a tendency toward repetition and in places intro- 
duces some coirf^oi*. An 'miiM.-i§^cmskm. ^-M^^^Mn v. Maryland, for ex- 
am|^, on ^ag^ 73-75, pi^sents #ie^<seiiiit^i^K^d ikues ki the case r%tbtf sketch- 
ily, preferring at that point to concentrate on the pamphlet warfare following in 
the wake of McCulloch, a battle that pitted pseudonymously the great antago- 
nists of early nineteenth-century American jurisprudence, Chief Justice Marshall 
and Spencer Roane, Chief Judge of the Virginia Court of Appeals and the man 

Book Reviews 


Thomas Jefferson wotild hmvt ^pointed chief justice. Johnson's discussion of 
the pamphlets is typically incisive, but full amplification of the constitutional 
dispute from which they flowed awaits exposition on pp. 142-47. 

Similarly, there are four separate mentions of the hostility directed toward 
Justice William Johnson by his fellow South Carolinians because of Johnson's 
circuit court decision of which struck down a state te# p*»viding for the 
arrest of free black seamen found on board ships in South Carolina ports (33, 
1 13, 133, 168). Clearly though, these are minor shortcoming ©fa superior work 
of scholarship. 

As is well known, it was a Mary}jtwd«r who succeeded Marshall as chief jus- 
tice in 1835. But another Mli|!i8Bd native, Gabriel Duval, served with Marshall 
as associate justice from 1811 to 1835, retiring because he mistakenly thought 
that Roger Taney would get his seat. Duval's influence on the Marshall Court is 
suggested by tM foet tl»t htmmtmfmi m"^t Mcnt." 

Mark T. Whitman 
Tmvsofi University 

Amongst My Best Men: African-Americans and the War of 1812. By Gerard T. 
Altoff. (Put-in-Bay, Ohio: The Perry Group, 1996. 192 pages. One illustration, 
maps, notes. Available from Eastern National Park & Monument Association, 
P.O. Box 549, Put-in-Bay, Ohio 43456. $9.95 plus $2.25 shipping.) 

The service of African Americans in this nation's wars prior to the Civil War 
is often overlooked. In this thin but impressive paperback, Gerard T. Altoff, U.S. 
National Park Service historian at Perry's Victory, Ohio, focuses on a forgotten 
aspect of our history. Altoff, who has studied Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's 
use of black sailors in the W6«®ry ove' the British on Lake Erie on September 10, 
1813, makes a logical author to write on this topic. As he notes, prior to the 
battle, Perry had written to Commodore Isaac Chauncey to complain about the 
men assigned to him. They were, he said, "a motley set, blacks. Soldiers, boys" 
(36). Yet in the end, he was glad to have his black sailors, praising them as men 
"who seemed to be absolutely insen^le to danger" (40). 

Unfortunately, it is not easy to know how many of the men who served in 
the U.S. Navy were African Americans. Altoff claims that "between 1 5 to 20% of 
all Navy crews were composed of black sailors" (52). Muster rolls, he notes, are 
incomplete and often do not Hst a sailor's race. Few black men are singled out in 
the contemporary records unless they came to attention through being casual- 
ties or because of conspicuous bravery. I know this myself from researching my 
own recent article, "Mirage of Freedom: African Americans in the War of 1 8 1 2" 
(MaryhndHht&rkMM^^tmne, Vol. 91 [Winter l^]?t26-50). Wishing to verify 
the service of George R. Roberts, a Made seaman known from other sources to 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

have been a crewman aboard Baltimore-owned privateers, notably aboard Cap- 
tain Thomas Boyle's Chasseur, I read through the logs of the famed privateer, the 
original "Pride of Baltimore." I could find no mention of seaman Roberts in 
Boyle's record of the voyage of the Chasseur. However, in the captain's report of 
the engagement with H.M.S. St. Lawrence on February 26, 1%!5, 1 fy&nd l^r- 
«Kei*Har»% *he casualties to "Peter (black man), since dead." Except for this 
scant mention, knowledge that this black saik«<4ied iiiibe *er¥ice-<rfhis country 
might have escaped notice. 

In the absence of clear proof of the race of the sailors who fought during the 
war, Altoff «s»erts, "black seamen sailed <@ti' endNtnd «wry U.S. Niwy vessel that 
put to sea" (51). This may seem a precarious assertion until one realizes that 
Britain's infamous Dartmoor Prison to which captured American sailors were 
consigned had such a "large number of black inmates" that they were given their 
own prison block, ruled bwr by "Richafd Setters, a Mackisaater frfawi Msisachu- 
setts" who stood "a powerful 6<:52 tall ... a natural leader and former boxing 
teacher who ruled prison block four with an iron but fair fist" (55). 

In contrast to the known service of American blacks at sea during the war, 
African Americans were mostly excluded from carrying arms in the state mili- 
tias and the U.S. Army. The major exception to this rule was at New Orleans, 
where Major General Andrew Jackson actively encouraged "free men of color" 
to join the ranks of his army to defend the city. Jackson credited these African 
Americans with helping him to achieve his victory of January 8, 1815 over the 
British. As AltofF notes, ftfckson wrote that the ccdtwed troops "were so anxious 
for glory that they could not be prevented from advancing over our breast wotfe 
and exposing themselves." Indeed, the general said, these African Americans 
"fought like desperadoes" (159). 

<3€f«tfd Altoff is to be congratulated for shining much-needed ligirt on this 
negkcted corner of our nati^'s H^efy. IHfe v©kft»e k a wdeofae aildition to 
the burgeoning library &r ^t'Wm'oi 1812 as well as on African American his- 

Christopher T. George 

The Evils of Necessity: Robert Goodloe Harper and the Moral Dilemma of Slavery. 
By Eric Robert Papenfuse. Transactions of the American Philiosophical Society 
Held «t f!ii#<fel^ia fea: P«)moting Useful Knowk?^, Vol. 87, Pt. 1. 
(Ml*4^lila: iSilterfean FM^^Idcal Sodeey, 1997. 160 pi^es. Appendix, 
illustrations, notes, 'v^Hix. $18.) 

In The Evils of Necessity, we move from a portrait of a rebellious brat of the 
Revolutionary era, who denounces pajrental authority, to an accomplished south- 

Book Reviews 


ern lawyer, who uses FedertMst ideology to justify the gradual elimination of 
American chattel Robert Goodloe Harper (January 1765-January 1825) 

represents one of the prototypical Negro Colonizationists of his time, articulat- 
ing a recognition of the moral paradox that "the foundation of our wealth" and 
American liberty was secured through the perpetuation of institutionalized sla- 
veffs tflfe'tt4i^^>i^^i»«r iil8*«^^ to ti«^»ef i«ife!|[#KMis vtf tlte#eqii€ndy 

cited study by Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom). 

The son of devout Presbyterians (Jesse and Diana Harper), Robert G. Harper, 
instead of advancing his slave-owning parents' staunch Calvinism, that "man 
w;^ a immmt^l^ma birth (1), reasoned ■^Kt Hit tam ^ hms. a 

world of unthinking obedience and to pursue an educated life of rational self- 
interest" (5). On this position, Harper does not discriminate; he maintains that 
blacks and whites "come into the world in all respects alike, except in the colour 
of their skin, and the difference b€twe«BA«ii, . . . arises wholly from education" 
(9). Initially, for Harper, "education" is both the cause of racial inequality in the 
country and its solution. He writes, "Education bestowing improvements on 
some, which are withheld from others, creates the vast difference we perceive in 
the degrees of mental exceBence^fJt- EAscaftien was that privilege which sepa- 
rated the raceSy mA so long as blacks were denied access to it, they would suc- 
cumb to ignorance and to a baser life of "noise and riot and senseless mirth" (8). 

As noted, "education" dominates Harper s earlier explanation of racial dif- 
ferences. But at times Harper displays an inconsistent stance toward black edu- 
cation, one which Papenfuse tries ttt iM^nplay by grouping him in the moral 
camp with Quakers (33). Nevertheless, Harper realized that the natural ability 
of blacks to reason, ergo to learn, posed a potential threat to the nation. We 
come to learn that Harper's view on teaching slaves is closer to that of Alexander 
I of Russia than to American Qtt^e«. Harm's thoughts on diminishing racial 
inequality reseiftM^d commonly spoken justifications by his contemporaries — 
Monroe, Jefferson, and Madison — for deporting free/freed blacks to an Ameri- 
can-established colony in West Africa, as well as, ironically, pro-slavery argu- 
mmn Wkt «i -George Fitzhugh in llie «Mi-^itiH«t^oth century. In fact, 
Harpa'^v^vM e^enttraif im^m mdtefer Lft)eria its name (55). 

In the end according to Papenfuse, Harper's solution to the gradual eradica- 
tion of slavery is colonization, diffusion of the slaves throughout the nation, and 
possibly a civil war to stop the "cancer" of slavery from spreading. Harper, as a 
short-term U.S. Senator from Maryland in 1816, first endorsed "Negro Coloni- 
zation" for standard reasons. Free blacks unduly influenced slaves "to elude . . . 
authority, by neglecting . . . work as much as possible, to withdraw . . . from it 
altogether by flight, and sometimes to attempt direct resistance" (60). Free blacks 
"could never hope to realize full equality witfe whiftra in American society," be- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

cwase of whites' "prejudices," and the "indelible mark" of the blacks' color (57). 
On this point, Harper pointed to Paul Cuffee to prove thaX even tht :i»»^<edia- 
cated and economically and morally secure black would never be accepted by 
his white counterparts. Lastly, with Negro colonization, blacks would be "trans- 
planted to a colony composed of themselves alone, [where] they would enjoy 
real eqmSib^ mjBillkm'mminmmk Mtei i m^ stayed in America, 

they would be "condemned to a state of hopeless inferiority and degradation" 
(61). Harper reasoned further that less psychologically anchored blacks, which 
to him were "the vast majority," would internalize their debasement, lose all "de- 
sire" for social uplift, and i«eoif»l»ttf! '**yie, 'Worthless and thievish race" (58). 

It is worth underscoring that Harper never seemed to have an exact feel for 
the pulse of black people: he thought that West Indian slaves, once imported to 
America, would reenact their revolutionary and insurrectionary behavior; and 
he thought black opposition to colonization would fizzle (63). When his predic- 
tions went sour, he never adiBitt@dilw)iiR^^eefitMsaiifd«Kl<¥anGed new, equally 
erroneous excuses by blaming the subjects of his remarks for failing to realize 
his predictions. For instance, of blacks who opposed African deportation. Harper 
concluded that "many blacks were simply not 'intelligent' enough to discern the 
'ad-vwi^ge of the tmd«rtaJdng'" (63). We definitely witness in Papaifiase's por- 
trait of Harper a reification of white superiority. As his vision of American soci- 
ety continued to collide with the reality of America's chattel institution, Harper 
suggested another means to gradually end slavery: disperse the slaves. By spread- 
ing out tm^ "dme pf^^vh^mm, "thdr wm«^ e&ndMcm and qualities are im- 
pro^^" because their ma*tes gan provide "more mmns of [individual] instruc- 
tion, intellectual, moral and religious: [and they] will be governed with more 
ease, and consequently less rigour." Slaves would benefit also from more direct 
"association with their masters . . . and equals of their masters." Harper added 
that this approach will eliminate "the moral evils to be apprehended from sla- 
very" (66). The subtlety here is that slaves would grow in every conceivable way 
just from personal contact with their masters, who were inherently superior to 
them in every conceivable way. 

Harper's advocacy of education indtrdcd the creatkm 0«f what he called "semi- 
nary farms." These schools would prepare Maryland's slme chMi&i to survive 
when they were relocated to Liberia (68). But the facihties, Harper insisted, should 
be set up in slave states, and all of its students — ^whether newly freed or free — 
would adopt a slave status. He contended that uniform legal status and slave 
residency i<ra«tld ensure discipline and prevent slavery from being undermined 
by learned blacks (70). 

In this biography, we rarely learn what Harper's contemporaries thought of 
him. One knows that few southerners supported Harper's unmaterialized scheme 
for "seminary farms"; after all, the proposition involved not only educating blacks, 

Book Reviews 


bat ako raising theip xAMffacter* M hm ^ath, Harper Mrraself st^ owned 
twenty-seven dsiini^^y^^BMliiition causes omt^'^mgtkm.s^^emmMi^ ®f kis 
scheme. Although unable to serve as an an ti -slavery model, Harper epitomized the 
morally conflicted colonizationist (or as some would say in a word, a hypocrite). 

The text of Eric Papenfuse's critical biography of Robert Goodloe Harper is 
only eighty pages. The book% feifliiiiing seventy pages consist of primary docu- 
ments — four in all — ^which make up the "Appendices." That Harper's life may 
have lacked episodic diversity does not explain why the actual study of Harper's 
life and thoughts is so brief. The significance of this biography lies in its sub- 
staotMi»0f eadm'i welMocumented secondary stts^&di'cCilMi^isonicts and 
those who proposed that slavery was a positive good and therefore a necessary 

As noted, this slender volume reprints four documents written by Harper. 
Because each one is frequently cited in the course of the text, I recommend that 
one begin by reading them first. Pap«nfii^ has made generous assumptions con- 
cerning his readers' academic fortification in eighteenth -century Marykmd his- 
tory, and particularly about Robert Goodloe Harper (51). 

Not to be slighted are Papenfuse's numerous footnotes, which frequently 
occupy at least one-third of a page. They are rich with references that at times 
support and at other times refute historical themes he highlights. Packed with 
secondary evidence — old and recent articles and monographs (which Papenfuse 
often annotates), and an assortment of primary sources, especially letters — the 
footnotes distinguish the archives in the Maryland Historical Society Library. 

Angela M. Leonard 
Loyola College 

Sabres and Pistols: The Civil War Career of Colonel Harry Gilmor, C.S.A. By 
Timothy R. Ackinclose. (Gettysburg, Pa.: Stan Clark Military Books, 1997. 208 
pages. $24.95.) 

Harry Gilmor was the most famous Baltimorean to fight for the South dur- 
ing the Civil War. He enlkted in the C^foderste cavalry as aprivate and, through 
his success at small-unit engagements and raids in Virpnia's Shenandoah Valley, 
rose to the rank of colonel. For a while, he headed his own independent com- 
mand of guerilla fighters who operated behind Union lines, and became one of 
South's most feared partisan leaders. 

Although a ^Ued hors^aaan and a crack pistol shot, Gilmor did not depend 
on brute force for victory. He became known for clever ploys that frequently 
enticed Federal troops to surrender without a fight. During one engagement, 
Gilmor, alone and on foot, stumbled into a group of twenty-five Union soldiers. 
Gilmor pretended that Confederate troops had hidden themselves in the sur- 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

rounding forest mid shouted to his imaginary G0mradeSj"Boys, don't fire! D<m't 
fire! They'll surrender." The befuddled and apprehensive Yankees gave up. 

Gilmor is a colorful subject for a biography. Oddly, with the exception of 
Gilmor's own 1866 memoirs, Timothy Ackincloses biography is the first book- 
length account of Gilmor's career. For those interested in Maryland Civil War 
history, this volnme Mmig^ltim^me overdue. 

Gilmor was one of eleven children born to wealthy Baltimore merchant and 
Harvard graduate Robert Gilmor III, who had strong business connections with 
the South. In 1861 , twenty-three-year-old Gilmor joined a pro-southern militia 
company in iiMB!f@«e Onttnty, a move thait le#ia4tt being tossed in jail for two 

w&iiS'V^^'MMim 'ig^mpifmmfi^ M fm^m w§i, Gilnx^ to 

Virginia and enlisted in a Confederate cavalry regiment, where he quickly dis- 
tinguished himself for his abilities as a scout and for battlefield resourcefulness. 
In particular he had a knack for extricating himself from tight spots. 

While most aristocraik Cailfeitoa t r 'i^Bcairs |>^ibrperii • tratMtional, formal 
warfare with its gentleman's code of conduct, Gilmor exhibited a talent for mod- 
ern "no holds barred" fighting. He favored irregular warfare, with its emphasis 
on dirty tricks, ambush, and surprise attack. In 1863, Gilmor was promoted to 
major and given command of an indepoidkfit battalion of "partisan rangers" 
^jefirtiaig in the Shenandoah Valley and portions of West Virginia. Partisan rang- 
ers were assigned to work behind Union lines, disrupting Federal communica- 
tions and supply. Gilmor recruited a number of southern-sympathizing Mary- 
landers to workwitti his bwttidien, which was soinietimes referred to as "Gilmor's 

Gilmor conducted one of his more impressive raids in February 1864, when 
he derailed a train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad line near Kearneysville, 
West Virginia. He and his men subsequently were labeled as "highwaymen" in 
the northern press when train passengers testified that the raiders had robbed 
them of cash, watches, and jewelry. Gilmor protested his innocence, but the 
charges grew more serious when a Jewish merchant traveling near Woodstock, 
Virginia, complained that Gilmor's band had stolen $6,000 in gold, jewelry, and 
ottea: items froiti him. Detectfiies I^AdH'^ftnfeises wit&' imp^icatcid Gtoor f n Ae 
disposal of the s^cAen property and with an attempitto cb¥er ttp crfffle. 

Confederate authorities, including Robert E. Lee, expressed disgust with the 
incidents. The charges against Gilmor reinforced traditional southern beliefs 
that irregular warfare was vulgar and ungentlemanly. A few weeks after these 
two incidettts, fhfe •Confeferiiie ^wWi-ttMenf afesftt Aed its partisan ranger orga- 
nization, although rangers continued to operate informally until the war's end. 
Gilmor was court-martialed but acquitted. He was allowed to resume command 
of his battalion, which was absorbed into the regular Confederate cavalry under 
the name of the 2nd Maryland Battalion. 

Book Reviews 


Gilmor is best remembered in Maryland for his July 10-12, 1864 raid on the 
Baltimore area — which gave the city what was probably its worst invasion scare 
since the British attempt to take Fort McHenry in September 1814. The Balti- 
more attack was coordinated with a raid on Washington, D.C. by a small Con- 
federate army commanded by General Jubal A. Eeirly. Before trying to punch his 
the tetifications protecting the espial, Eaily oriKntd dgfat hun- 
dred Confederate horsemen — including Gilmor 's battalion — to ride north to 
Baltimore, cut telegraph and railroad lines, and thereby isolate Washington. Near 
Cockeysville, Maryland, the Confederate force successfully cut the Northern 
Central Raikoad line connecting iiiiMM to Harrisburg. The task of reacMi^g 
the Philadelphia, Wilmington, aj>i;jiiltimore Railroad, which ran from Balti- 
more northeast to Philadelphia, was more difficult. 

Fearing that a southern force moving east of Baltimore would be cut off by 
iht ■€Mfi^§mi giftfison. Confederate command ftrtdley T. JohniOM mie^ed 

galloped east to Harford County with twenty-eight hand-picked horsemen. On 
reaching the PW&B railroad line at Magnolia Station, he chased off guards, cap- 
tured and destroyed two trains, and burned the railroad bridge over the Gun- 
pow^fSver. Rfepofts ^|*c«#ii^*Oti#fia^(fe'aa^% in-Bal- 
timore. Church bells rang in alarm. Panicked farmers from the suburbs drove 
cattle and horses into the center of the city for better protection. Banks removed 
cash and coin from their vaults and stashed the money on ships anchored in the 
Imi^OT. WOftwen t#th desperately trying 

to buy ticla;t!r«it of town. Volui^«i m*n tA6 dKf$ foWificatiwis. 

People huddled on street corners exchanging wild rumors. Then, to the conster- 
nation of his enemies, Gilmor retraced his route, slipped by Union cavalry pa- 
trols a second time, and easily escaped back to Virginia. The audacious raid 
disrafited crftied rail traffic b^tt^ifiPfMslip^ and Baltii»c»«^ fei«set«:altwdcs. 

Gilmor's success as a raider ultimately led to his undoing. His activities caught 
the eye of General Philip Sheridan, the Federal commander in the Shenandoah. 
Sheridan deduced that the best way to incapacitate Gilmor's Rangers was to 
capture Gilmor himself. SftsSridSift is^ftftfeS a team of spies and scouts who 
eventually tracked the rebel to a house Gilmor used as a hiding place near 
Moorefield, West Virginia. Under cover of a blizzard, a special contingent of 
federal troops burst into the house at dawn on February 5, 1865, and, for once, 
surprised Harry Gilmor. The fabled partisan ranger sat out the rest of the war in 
a Boston prison. 

This biography is useful to the general public as a concise introduction to 
Gilmor's military career. Serious readers, however, may be disappointed. There 
is little in the way of new information or insight here; most of this book consists 
of well-known stories stitched together from familiar sources. The large number 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

of footnotes referring to such secondary sources as the Time-Life book series on 
the Civil War is disappointing. 

It is a good sign that a biography of Gilmor has finally appeared. We may 
hope this volume will be foUov^ed by others offering fresher, and deeper treat- 
ments. The dashing raider deserves no less. 

Walt Albro 

Uncommon Threads: Threads that Wove the Fabric of Baltimore Jewish Life. By 
PWHp Kahit; Tt. <lblliHiWP«t'ilKlilP 1996. 324 pages. Photo- 
graphs, notes, appendix, bibliography. $19.95.) 

For the novice interested in the history of the Baltimore Jewish community, 
the author do€S a jetsonable job of GhfeM^iBf ife de*i?d<^»»ent. For those look- 
ing for new revelations, the advice here is to keep looking. The book reads like a 
textbook, with names, dates, and places, that make one feel as though he is back 
in high school. A highlighter is a must to prepare for the test that will surely 
folkm Malice a t«ttboek, however, is the aalJior's style of jumping back and 
forth in time within the same se@^ni9$. I found myself thinking I had already 
read some of the material and, upon going back to previous sections, found 
indeed I had. It makes reading a chore. 

On the positive side, Kahn's description of why and how German and Rus- 
mm Jfi'miwH^^ed to BaHilliQVeiiJfiiiiffi^stciiinented. He also provides ample 
informstiea regarding the evolution of neighborhoods, synagogues, and social 

The author's lack of depth in describing economic and philanthropic devel- 
opments is disappointing. It was surprising not to find more profiles of families 
involved in commerce. Rather, thf-^SiK)r seemed t04«A^t in deriding country 
clubs and their members. These st«®t|lfpiGal,8.tatqBients were repeated in sev- 
eral sections. 

Hie hktory of Baltimore's Jewish community comprises the strength, the 
values and accooipli«hmeitts of tens of thousands €rf in^^^Juals. While Uncom- 
mon Threads provides historical perspective, it is but the first step in under- 
standing the richness and texture of a driven people. 

Sheldon Caplis 
University <sfMarylmd, Baltimore County 

Book Reviews 


¥mtm. Politics, and the Sectional Conflict in Tennessee, 1832-1861. By Jonathan 
M. Atkins. (Knoxville: University oiTem&m^WimSf iS^,4Q0 pi^jes* Afpsn- 
dix, notes, index, $38.) 

}xm»timi .AAifl& eontends that previous scholarship ""failed to consider 
political developments in Tennessee within the context of the state's distinctive 
political culture," to examine the role of economic conditions in shaping the 
state's party system, and to adequately look for the roots of the secession crisis 
(xiii). He asserts that antebellum Tennessee politics is best explained by an ex- 
amination of the "ideology and party appeals" of Democrats and their oppo- 
nents (xv). The term "sectional conflict" in the title refers both to the tension 
between North and South and to the friction between Tennessee's "grand divi- 
sions" (West, Middle, and East). Unlike other historians of Tennessee, however, 
Atkins rejects the notion that eiiii^«f iiese-c^ikts were the dominant theme 
of the state's antebellum political debates. Rather, he contends that "the central 
concern for voters, as expressed through party competition, was the defense of 
liberty from the perceived assaults of demagogic politicians" (xiv). This conclu- 
sion is based on«t impres9««*rray se^arces, including newspapers, legislative 
records, speeches, and personal correspondence of-paMy elites. 

Atkins argues that the notion of a "party" representing "the people" and 
fighting tyrants and despots remained the lens through which Tennessee voters 
viewed their political debates from Jackson's presidency through the election of 
Lincoln and the secmm @i die Lmm ^iadi.Hf^ idediogy of republicanism 
"played a vital role in shaping the course of Tennessee politics" (xv), and Atkins 
contends that Tennessee voters required their elected officials to preserve at least 
the "image" of a "defender of republican liberty" (14). While this shared com- 
mitment to republicaii Mberty is ciMtsistent with that found in analyses of ante- 
bellum North and South Carolina politics by Marc Kruman {Parties and Politics, 
1983) and Lacy Ford (Origins of Southern Radicalism, 1988), respectively, Atkins's 
emphasis on the importance of voters in shaping Tennessee political debate would 
be strengthened by a more systematic statistical analysis of election returns. 

Atkins argues that Tennessee's two parties focused on national issues be- 
cause of the divisive nature of state issues among Tennessee's "grand divisions" 
and the narrow margins of electoral victory. Presented and perceived as a struggle 
over the definition of republican liberty, Tennessee's party system developed out 
of opposition to Andrew Jackson's chosen heir, Martin Van Buren, and crystal- 
lized during the economic depression from 1837 to 1846 around debates over 
banking and the means of alleviating the state's suffering. Atkins's claim for the 
distinctiveness of Tennessee's political culture could be enhanced by more de- 
tailed comparisons with other states, especially on questions of voter participa- 
tion and party conflict. 


As slavery became an increasingly iRq>©rtaM national issue, Tennessee's par- 
ties integrated it into their republican-based ideology; parties competed to de- 
fend both southern rights and the Union, each asserting it was the only party 
capable of fighting the despots that would split the nation to gain more power. 
Jackson's strong stand against South Carolina's nuUifiers ksft't'^ong antipathy 
in Tennessee's voters toward those that threatenei <Cfce lUiiaft* iwifiidiftg hmk 
northern abolitionists and southern fireeaters. 

In line with Daniel Crofts' broader work on Upper South Unionists in Re- 
luctant Confederates (1989), Atkins contends that following Lincoln's election 
andthet«>trerSiowtti's secfe»iefc, l^nessee Wfe%s iittdtt«m-i^af^Aoldi«g E>emo- 
crats combined to form what they hoped would be a national Unionist party 
that would check Lincoln and the secessionists, defending the Union and south- 
ern rights from all "radical demagogues" (259). Lincoln's call for troops in the 
Aftef maA ctfftwt Suiffteif forced TennesseansW Abose b'etween natioti arid re- 
gion, splitting the state. Tennesseans viewed these choices, made according to 
the importance of slavery in their area, through the lens of republican ideology. 
To Western and Middle Tennessee — advocates of defending southern rights in a 
new nation — Lincoln's actions were those of a military despot, but fia^rn 
Tennessee — a Umonfet stK«^i«i§=*slifeifeGe8skr statt g®^<fiiorms the co- 
ercive tyrant. The war itself finally changed the central concern of Tennesseepditics 
from a republican struggle against despotism to one for military victory 

Parties, Politics, and the Sectional Conflict is valuable for scholars of Tennes- 
see history mi. those Who study the poilial'beiwvior of ifie Upper South through 
the secession crisis. The book is an intriguing addition to schd^Mp on the 
imp<M:tance of republican rhetoric in southern party politics. 

Jeffrey W. McClurken 
Johns Hopkins University 


to>ks in Brief 

"The direction of the wind and the height of the seas" — along with oyster 
diseases and the price of soft crabs — ^mark the topics of conversation on the 
Easterrt'^fi^^s SMfth*f«iii*a. Pauia Johnson's The Wm-kboats of Smith Island 
describes the Hves of the watermen and the workboats on which they rely for 
crabbing, fishing, and oystering on the Chesapeake. 

Johns Hopkins University Press, $29.95 

A reprint of Letitia Stockett's WMSiiimiam A Not Too Serious History has 
been released as part of the Maryland Paperback Bookshelf series from the Johns 
Hopkins University Press. Fashioned as a chatty walking tour of the city, the 
book includes historic photographs and local histories. The author notes, for 
example, ihat "ftie wfde-Caitral Avewae laear iAftfe Mf w«s oacc a cwaal. The 
author also describes parks that have evolved from older estates, and includes a 
chapter on Baltimore Street before the Great Fire. 

Johns Hopkins University Press, $15.95 paper 

A detailed, practical guide to regional cycling has been produced by sea- 
soned :q«:M®t Mike High. His book. The C&O Canal Companion, includes draw- 
ings, maps, and photographs of the canal towpath and details points of interest 
along the way. Among the historic sites — Rowsers Ford, a river crossing used by 
Confederate cavalry general J. E. B. Stuart while en route to Gettysburg. For- 
mally opened in 1850, the canal was closed in 1926 due to flooding and compe- 
tition from the railroads. 

Johns Hopkins University Press, $15.95 paper 

Architectural historian Pbodse Stanton's The Gothic Revival & American 
Church Architecture: An Episode in Taste, 1840-1856, has been re-released. The 
author explores the influence of the English Gothic Revival on American church 
architecture in the mid-nineteenth century. First published in 1968, the book is 
generously illustrated with drawings and photc^rap^hs, and includes an index. 

Johns Hopkins University Press, $ 25.95 paper 

The Confederacy's Civil War campaign north of the Potomac is studied in 
B. Franklin Cooling's Monocacy: The B0tde that Saved Washington. The author 
argues timt the 1864 batlic of MMJiocacy was decisive in Robert E, Lee's offensive 
against Washington, D.C., and pivotal in the course of the Civil War. 

White Mane Press, $34.95 


Maryland Historical Magazine 

The Maryland State Archives and the Maryland Historical Trust have pro- 
duced the first in a s^ies <rf short works entitled, Stud*^ ih !CbGal Mi^^. Thor- 
oughly researched, written for a general audience, and released to coincide with 
the 300th anniversary of Annapolis, these booklets and those to follow will pro- 
vide attractive windows into Maryland colonial history and the life of early Chesa- 
pe^e conirHttiiitiis; fliettNrt A the series, "Doing Bmdfe^i^terity," by Edward 
Papenfuse (1995), details the move of Maryland's capital from St. Mary's City to 
Annapolis. The second, Al Luckenbach's "Providence, 1649," examines the his- 
tory and archaeology of the first European settlement in Anne Arundel County. 
The third booklet, "From Paths to Plats," by Anthony D. Lindauer (1997), traces 
the early development of Annapdis, from 1651 to 1718. 

Maryland State Archives 

In early nineteenth-century Howard County, Maryland, residents fought 
community fires in so-called "bud«%figi^s.'' Finally, in 1888, the residents of 
Ellicott City formed a volunteer fire company, and author B. H. Shipley chronicles 
its development in Remembrances of Passing Days: A Pictorial History of Ellicott 
City and its Fire Department." The book describes fire-fighting in Howard County 
through modern times, and incli«tes a hfetory of Ellicott City arwi Howard 

Donnii^ Comi^af Publishers, $34.95 




Talbot County Heritage Weekend 

On the weekend of October 4, 1997, the Historical Society of Talbot County 
will sponsor its first annual Discover Our Heritage Weekend. The theme for the 
event is the Federal Period. The weekend begins with a Friday evening speakers 
reception, and concludes on Sunday with a visit to Myrtle Gro^, a Federal style 
townhouse. For information, contact the Historical Society of Talbot County, 
P.O. Box 964, Easton, MD, 21601, or call: 410-822-0773. 

Pennsylvania Scholars-in-Residence Program Announced 

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is inviting applica- 
tions for its 1998- W9 SeWps-te^Ri^deiicc Program. The program provides 
support for full-time reseaeda at any Commission facility, includiflf die state 
archives and museum, and twenty-six other historical sites and museums. Resi- 
dencies are available for four to twelve consecutive weeks between May 1, 1998, 
and April 30, 1999, at the rate of $1,200 per month. The program is open to 
scholars, professionals, and others conducting research on Penns)4vania history. 
For information and application materials, contact: Division of History, Penn- 
sylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA, 17108; 
717-787-3034. The deadline is January 16, 1998. 

Charles County S^cdbofitd ^^mm 

Beginning in September, Charles County Community College wil oifer an 
Elderhostel program focused on southern Maryland history. The program in- 
cludes courses and tours of historic sites. Participants in the program will stay in 
the Loyola Retreat House, which overlooks the Potomac River, in Faulkner, Mary- 
land. The cost for one week of courses, housing and meals is $380 per person. To 
register, call Elderhostel at 617-#ife^®6. 

Carroll Papers Microfilm Guide Available in Digital Media 

A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Charles Carroll of Carrollton Family 
Papers, 1651-1877 is now available on computer disk from the Maryland His- 
torical Society. Call 410-685-3750, ext. 34tfep9-ices and to specify desired word- 
processing format. 



Maryland Picture Puzzle 

The summer 1997 Picture Puzzle proved to be a conundrum. The parklike 
setting misled many, and clothing on the figure in the foreground proved hard 
to date. 

The photograph was taken by Bachrach Studios in 1868 at the U.S. Naval 
Academy in Annapolis after Superintendent David D. Porter had ordered a post- 
Civil War beautification program. The photo shoves how the grounds behind 
the midshipmen's quarters leading down to the steamer wharf were landscaped. 
Our congratulations to Mr. Percy Martin, Mr. Raymond Martin, and Mr. Will- 
iam Hollifield, who correctly identified it. 

Test your knowledge of Western Maryland by identifying the location of 
this photograph from the collections of the Maryland Historical Society. Please 
send your answers to: Picture Puzzle, Maryland Historical Society, 201 West 
Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4674. 

New from the Maryland Historical Society! 

A superb biography of an American religious and cultural leader and patriot 

Man of God, Man of Science 

By Michael J. Kurtz 

Writer, lecturer, educator, churchman, 
scientist — John Gottlieb Morris's long, 
productive, and extraordinarily pro- 
ductive life mirrors the volatility and 
vitality of American culture from the 
early national period to the end of the 
19th century. Morris played a key role 
in the development and direction of the 
American Lutheran Church and led the 
movement from German-language lit- 
urgy to English. He created the librar- 
ies of the Peabody Institute and the 
Maryland Historical Society, founded 
the Lutherville Female Seiminary (and 
the town of Lutherville), and was a ma- 
jor figure at Gettysburg College. Mor- 
ris pioneered natural science in America 
and contributed significandy to the de- 
velopment of outstanding natural his- 
tory collections, including the 
Smithsonian Institution's, and as an historian sustained for decades the Lutheran 
Historical Society and the Society for the History of the Germans in Maryland. 

Michael J. Kurtz is assistant archivist of the National Archives and a resident 
of Annapolis. 

6x9, 216 pages, paper. Illustrations 



John Gottlieb Morris 

Man of God, 
Man of Science 


New from the Maryland Historical Society! 

The early history of a quintessential mid-Atlantic Community . . . 


By Joseph M. Codle 

For two centuries the area known 
today as Ruxton, Maryland, was 
identified by tract names such as 
Samuel's Hope, Hector's Hop- 
yard, Bosley's Adventure, Young 
Man's Adventure, Hooker's Pros- 
perity, and Beale's Discovery. Its 
early settlers were largely "mid- 
dling" planters, economically situ- 
ated between tenant farmers and 
the landed gentry of Maryland's 
Eastern Shore. By focusing on rep- 
resentative families, their tracts, 
and their descendants, Joseph M. 
Coale traces the history of this re- 
markable area from the colonial 
period through the Revolution to 
the early Industrial Revolution. 

Ruxton, recognized its 300th an- 
niversary in 1994. The story of this 
community just north of Baltimore City represents a microcosm of America's 
transformation from wilderness to settlement, from agricultural to industrial 
pursuits, and from rural to urban character. 

6 X 9; 100 pages; illustrated with maps, prints, and photographs; 
Cloth binding with four-coior jm:k&; ISBN: 0^93$420-56-9 


New from Toomey Press . . . 

Baltimore During the Civil War 

scoTTmirER SHEA^ Mmmmm CAmmji toomey 

Scott S. Sheads {Fort McHenry) and Datad Carroll Toomey (The Civil War in 
Maryland, Marylanders at Gettysburg), combine their talents in the first book-length 
account of Baltimore during the Civil War. From the election of 1860 to Lincoln's 
funeral and the demobilization of the armies, Sheads and Toomey describe politi- 
cal developments, mflitary events, aind Wfe tnr civffians in this, the first occupied 
Southern city. Separate chapters cover Fort McHenry, the defenses of Baltimore, 
and long-neglected pro-Union sentiment and activities. The book includes a valu- 
able survey dfCfvft "V^r sites — the history and locaCim of 125 forts, bridges, hospi- 
tals, and public and private buildings — fias 75 illustrations, many never before 
published, and 3 maps. 

224 pages, cloth, full color dust jadtet. Notes, illustrations, index. $24.95 
ISBN: 0-9612670-7-0 

Books may be ordered from Toomey 's Bookshop, P.O. Box 122, Linthicum, MD 
21090. Call or fax (410) 850-0831. Add $3.00 s+h per order. Maryland residents 
add 5% sales tax. AQ dcdess i 



Peter Wilson Goldham 

These five volumes contain an alphabetical listing of all Maryland 
Land Grants issued between 1679 and 1783. Based on land records 
at the Hall of Records in Annapolis, entries are arranged by fam- 
ily name, county, name of tract granted, acreage, date and refer- 
ence to original sources. 

Volume 1, 1679-1700: 228 pp., indexed, cloth. $25.00 
Volume 2, 1701-1730: 216 pp., indexed, cloth. $25.00 
Volume 3, 1731-1750: 306 pp., indexed, cloth. $30.00 
Volume 4, 1751-1765: 367 pp., indexed, cloth. $32.50 
Volume 5, 1766-1783: 204 pp., indexed, doth. $25.00 

Postage & handling: one book $3.50; each additional book $1 .25. 
Maryland residents add 5% sales tax; Michigan residents add 6% sales tax. 

VISA & MasterCard orders: 
phone toll free 1-800-296-6687 or FAX 1-410-7S2-8492 

GENHAI.OGICAL publishing CO., INC. 

1001 ^. Culvert St./lJaltiniore. Md. 21202 


"Officers Bmi Gcatlemeo" 

. Vignettes from the Lives of Maryland 
Civil War Leaders 

With a Presentation and Book Signing by 
Dr. Kevin Conley Ruffner, 
Author of 

Maryland's Blue and Gray'' 

Thursday, October 9, 1997 
5:30 -7:00 EM. 

The Maryland Historical Society will devote the evening of October 9 to 
Maryland in the Civil War. Drawing upon research for his just-released book, 
Maryland's Blue and Gray: A Border Stag's Union and Confederate Junior Officer Corps, 
Kevin Conley Ruffnef^ii ermine the experiences of Marylanders who fought in 
the armies on both sides. The evening will begin with two concurrent thirty- 
minute workshops led by MHS curators. One workshop will highlight Civil War 
objects in our gallery; the other features material in our library collection. Partici- 
pants will have the opportunity to view Civil War uniforms and broadsides not 
regularly on display and will receive useful information on how to preserve Civil 
War memorabilia. Enrollment in the pre-lecture workshops is limited to 20 people 
each and is available on a first come, first served basis. 

After a light reception during which Dr. RuflFner will sign copies of his book, 
the lecture will begin at 6:00 PM. 

Admission is $7 for MHS members and $10 for the general public. Reserva- 
tions are required and may be made by calling the MHS Box Office at 4 10-685- 
3750, ext. 372. 



A Bo«|ir State's Union and 
)nfe4erc^^unior Officer Corps 


"Maryland's Blue and Qray offers a wealth of information about the state's 
company-grade officers in Union and Confederate armies that fought in the 
Civil War's Eastern Theater." 


"With remarkable mastery of the extensive archival sources as well as skillful use of the 
printed evidence, Ruffner demonstrates in detail how the sectional struggle transformed 
the lives of his hundreds of subjects. Maryland's Blue and Gray is an invaluable tool for 
all scholars and students of the Civil War who wish to understand a pivotal population 
in this pivotal state." 

National Archives and Records Administration 

Maryland's Blue and Gray is a collective biography focusing on the 365 Maryland 
men who served as captains and lieutenants in the Virginia theater of operations. 
Exemplifying a segment of Maryland's antebellum society, these soldiers provide a 
rare opportunity to investigate the backgrounds, military careers, and wartime experi- 
ences of a specific group who fought on both sides in the nation's bloodiest and most 
contentious war. This groundbreaking study utilizes both military and social history 
to plumb their motivations, ambitions, and reactions. 

Illustrated • $34.95 

availaUe at bookstores or from 

Louisiana State University Press 

■M||gi|H||HnilMHMiMHIfl'5053 • Credit card orders: 800'861'3477 


A Biographical Dictionary of Federal Officials from Maryland 


John Eager Howard 

Thurgood Marshall 

Katherine Edgar Byron 

"It's a rare Maryland native who can leaf 
through these pages without spotting here a 
distant cousin, there a former neighbor, yonder 
a once-gleaming political leader now dusted 
over by history." 

— Bradford Jacobs 
Maryland Historical Magazine 

From Spiro Theodore Agnew (U.S. Vice Presi- 
dent, resigned) to Frederick Nicholas Zihlman 
(U.S. Congressman from Maryland's Sixth 
Congressional District from 1917 to 1931), 
biographical summaries of prominent 
Maryianders in national service and the offices 
they held. Sketches include dates of birth and 
death and information on the subject's family, 
religion, education, military service, professional 
career, party affiliation, burial site — even mother's 
maiden name. Indexed by name and by office, 
this highly useful reference work is a vital starting 
point for research in Maryland political history. 

17.95 cloth; 375 pages, 7 x 10; illustrations, indexes 
ISBN 0-942370-34-1 

Published by the Maryland State Archives 
350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401 
Phoneorders: 410-974-3914 

Available at 

Pratt Place in the Enoch Pratt Free Library 

Maryland Historical Society 

Give a Gift of History and Save! 

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scripts, genealogical records, photographs, books — discover Maryland's past through the Maryland 
Historical Society. MHS members enjoy unlimited admission to the museum and library, professional 
assistance in genealogical research, exhibition previews, special events, lectures, members' discounts on 
books and gift items, and of course the Maryland Historical Magazine. 

No matter what the occasion, if you know soracene who h«s an interest in any aspect of Maryland 
history, this is the perfect gift for them! 


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I/We wish to give a full year's gift of history to the person(s) listed below. Method of payment in the 
amount of $ is indicated below. 

□ Individual Membership $30 (regularly $40) □ Family Membership $40 (regularly $50) 

□ Non-membership Subscription to Maryland Historical Magazine $24 

Recipient's Name(s) 


City State Zip 


Your name (as it should appear on the gift letter): 


City State ^Zip 


□ Check enclosed (payable to Marjdand Historical Society) □ Visa □ MasterCard 
Card* Exp. Date 


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Baltimore, MD 21201 



Jacks. Griswold 


Stanard T.Klinefelter 

Barbara P. Katz 
William J. McCarthy 
Dorothy Mcllvain Scott 

Term Expires 1998 
James C. Alban III 
Clarence W. Blount 
Forrest F. Bramble Jr. 
Stiles T. Colwill 
William B. Dulany 
Louis L. Goldstein 
Ronald C. McGuirk 
Milton H.Miller Sr. 
John W.Mitchell 
Camay Calloway Murphy 
William T. Murray III 
Pamela H. Shriver 
George R. Tydings 

Term Expires 1999 
William R. Amos 
Mrs. William A. Fisher III 
David L. Hopkins Jr. 
Jennifer W. Lambdin 
William J. McCarthy 
Mrs. Douglas McGregor 
J. Jefferson Miller II 
Howard P. Rawlings 
J. Marshall Reid 
Richard CRiggs Jr. 
Dorothy Mcllvain Scott 
David Mcintosh Williams 
Howard D.Wolfe Jr. 


David McI. Williams 

William T. Reynolds 

Assistant Treasurer 
Jennifer W. Lambdin 


William J. McCarthy 

Term Expires 2000 
Gregory H. Barnhill 
Charles W.Conley 
Jack S. Griswold 
Lenwood H. Ivey 
Barbara P. Katz 
Stanard T.Klinefelter 
Mrs. Thomas H. Maddox IV 
William T. Reynolds 
James A. Roche 

G. Dowell Schwartz Jr. 
Henry H. Stansbury 

H. Mebane Turner 

Ex-Officio Trustees 
Dennis A. Fiori 

Chairmen Emeriti 
L. Patrick Deering 
Samuel Hopkins 
J. Fife Symington Jr. 

Presidents Emeriti 
Jacks. Griswold 
E. Mason Hendrickson 
John L. McShane 
Brian B. Topping 

Letters to the Editor are welcome. Letters should be as brief as possible. Address Editor's Mail, 
Maryland Historical Magazine, 201 West Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 2120L Include 
name, address, and daytime telephone number. Letters maybe edited for clarity and space. 

The Maryland Historical Magazine welcomes submissions from authors. All articles will be acknowl- 
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ably) or 5.25-inch disks for IBM (or compatible) PCs or Macintosh. Preferred word-processing 
programs are Wordperfect or Microsoft Word. Guidelines for contributors are available on request. 
Address the Managing Editor. 

In this issue . 


n m 
«« m 

m nj 

In Search of Thomas Stone, Essential Revolutionary 
by Jean B. Lee 

Blacks, Whites, and Guns: Interracial Violence in J ^ 

Post- Emancipation Maryland I x..^° 

by Richard Paul Fuke 

One Man's Battlefield: George Alfred Townsend and the 
War Correspondents Memorial Arch 
by Timothy J. Reese 

* '4-a ■- 

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The Journal of the Maryland Historical Societ